Another month of the baseball season has come and gone, and the Cincinnati Reds are still in last place.
They will probably be in last place at the end of June, too, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
In the meantime, let’s take a look back at May:
1. The Reds went 13-15 in May.
That’s a .464 winning percentage, which is probably about what most people expected from the team when it left spring training.
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Unfortunately, it followed a 7-22 start to the season.
On the first day of May, the Reds were on pace to win 39 games.
On the last day, they were on pace to win 56.
2. About 10 Reds had good months…
A perusal of the stat sheet finds more than a handful of Cincinnati players who put together a strong month.
Five of them are hitters: Scooter Gennett (.398 batting average, eight homers, 24 RBIs), Eugenio Suarez *.296, eight homers, 29 RBIs), Joey Votto (.320 average, .409 on-base percentage), Tucker Barnhart (.293 batting average, five doubles) and Alex Blandino (.279 average, third in OBP at .392).
Five pitchers put up nice numbers, too: Luis Castillo (3-2 with a 3.48 ERA), Amir Garrett (2.20 ERA in 14 relief appearances), Jared Hughes (0.60 ERA — one run allowed in 15 innings), David Hernandez (2.30 ERA) and Raisel Iglesias (1.69 ERA, six saves, one win).
3… Almost none of them were starting pitchers.
That the team announced changes in the rotation and the outfield late in the month shouldn’t come as much surprise.
The starters not named Castillo were all pretty bad with the exception of Matt Harvey, who had some ups and downs as he tries to rehabilitate his career.
Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan were both removed from the rotation, and Sal Romano might not be far behind with Anthony DeSclafani on the mend.
4. The outfielders weren’t very good, either.
Jesse Winker was removed from the outfield rotation after hitting .174 (worst among regulars, which was quite a competition) in May with a .278 OBP (better only than Jose Peraza’s .276).
Adam Duvall hit only .188, but he clubbed six home runs. Scott Schebler hit only .200, but more troubling was the power hitter’s .329 slugging percentage… that is still more than 80 points higher than Winker’s.
Meanwhile, Billy Hamilton followed a terrible April with an average (for him) May, hitting .244 with a .301 OBP. He only stole four bases, though.
5. Their run differential was nearly the same as the first five weeks.
Ironically, their run differential didn’t change much over the past month. After being outscored on average 5.5-4.1 in March and April, the Reds were outscore 5-4.1 in May.
That means the pitching was a little better while the offense remains a big disappointment, and they must have had a little better luck to nearly double their win total despite not changing their run differential much.
BONUS: What’s next?
Despite nearly winning half their games in May, the Reds still lost 5.5 games in the standings to enter June 16.5 games out of first, a place they don’t figure to occupy for a long time.
The Reds have made quite a few changes since their terrible start to the season, including manager, pitching coach, two rotations spots, backup catcher (twice) and pretty much the entire bench.
As the days get longer, there is increasingly little reason to see some of the older players on the roster get at-bats if the team is still that far from contending, so it will be interesting to see how much longer guys like Duvall and Schebler are around and how much rope Hamilton and Peraza get.
Scotter Gennett figures to be trade bait, too, even though he wants to stay with his hometown team.
With Brandon Dixon already on the roster and Nick Senzel just coming back from a stint on the disabled list, there aren’t many candidates in Triple-A to help the offense.
Among starters, Robert Stephenson has had a decent first two months, though he is still walking three batters per start.