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Sports Today: Reds fall flat after first winning week

Well, that was fun while it lasted. 

The Cincinnati Reds followed their first winning week of the season by getting swept by the Brewers and dropping two of three to a Marlins team that isn’t trying to win this season. 

Not a great look, even for a bad team. 

 

It’s tempting to say the past seven days were the most disappointing of 2018 so far, but of course they’ve already had full weeks where they didn’t win a game or even hit a home run, so the competition for that honor is pretty steep.  

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Nonetheless, this one came after Cincinnati had actually started to look like a real professional baseball team for several days in a row, so it carries its own unique stink of failure. 

A .500 record was already a pipe dream by the time Bryan Price was fired, but it’s now safe to assume 2018 will end up being the worst season in Reds history. 

Anything else would be almost shocking at this point. 

How is it possible this team gets to even 50 wins this season? 

A young pitching staff will have some good days and some bad, as expected before the season started. 

Offense comes and offense goes, which qualifies as a disappointment. 

The coup de grace continues to be the defense, which is absolutely pitiful and figures to easily cost them an extra 20 games given the margin for error provided by the pitching and hitting. 

 

If changing managers was supposed to signal any sort of line in the sand in terms of expectations, there is no evidence anyone in the clubhouse noticed. 

Whatever the talent level on this team is, the lack of sharpness on the base paths and in the field continues. 

The offense is still the opposite of opportunistic, and there isn’t much reason to think that will change. 

The Reds are 1-8 in one-run games, so they have basically maximized the losing their start could have generated. 

Teams generally aren’t that bad in close games, but is there any reason to think this team will do anything to make that number look better the rest of the season? 

  

To borrow a phrase from the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Reds have no sandpaper in their game. 

They still look pretty content to lose most of the time. 

Management continues neither to have nor demand much accountability, although a piece by the great Hal McCoy over the weekend provided a reminder the biggest reason the team is where it is now is the failures of former general manager Walt Jocketty from 2013-15. 

HAL MCCOY: How the Reds became the worst team in baseball

Another reason to think losing not just 100 but at least 110 games or more is possible: They’ve already started giving away games with roster decisions. 

Why else would Brandon Finnegan keep getting starts? 

The guy who was out almost all of last year and most of the spring stunk again Sunday, again failing to pitch even five innings. 

He somehow left his previous two starts with a lead the bullpen gave up, but guess what? When you only pitch five innings, the odds of that happening go up quite a bit. 

No one is pitching well at Triple-A, but continuing to send this guy who is no longer a prospect out there to make his team play from behind every fifth day doesn’t do much to dissuade fans from thinking this team has no plan to win. 

Since the guy has at best bottom of the rotation stuff and doesn’t throw strikes, I’m starting to think a street free agent might be better at this point. 

(Would anyone know the difference?)

At least maybe that would shake things up in an organization where things tend to go rotten somewhere between the time players leave Single-A and when they reach the majors

Speaking of Single-A, the Dayton Dragons’ bid for a perfect May came to an end Sunday with a walk-off loss in Clinton, Iowa. 

That snapped a six-game winning streak for Dayton, but there has been more good than bad so far this season for the Dragons. 

Catcher Hendrik Clementina, outfielders Michael Beltre and Stuart Fairchild and second baseman Jeter Downs are all off to nice starts at the plate. 

Packy Naughton has been the best starter, posting a 34/8 strikeouts/walks ratio in six starts. 

Austin Oreweiler has posted nice numbers (3-1, 1.85 ERA) often piggy-backing off Hunter Greene’s starts, too. 

As for Greene? Well, he’s had a rough go of it the last three times out

His next scheduled start is Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field... 

 

In non-baseball news, congratulations are in order for college graduates across the area and beyond as they wrap up their academic careers and move on into the real world (I don’t recommend it). 

Dayton basketball players Darrell Davis, Joey Gruden, Alex Harris, Jenna Burdette and JaVonna Layfield were among those receiving degrees over the weekend. 

At Ohio State, 10 football players graduated, including Cin’Quan Haney, a walk-on who attended Chaminade Julienne, and quarterback Joe Burrow, who is eligible to transfer and play right away if he is told he did not win the competition to be starting quarterback...

Speaking of quarterbacks, I found this story from our partners at Land of 10 interesting. 

While we already knew Urban Meyer at least expressed interest in prying Cincinnati St. Xavier quarterback Chase Wolf away from a Wisconsin commitment, Wolf revealed another school might have had better luck

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