The Cincinnati Reds nearly didn’t lose their ninth game in a row. Then they did.
That is about as creative as I can be about this losing streak that now spans more than a week. Consecutive lost weekends with five winless weekdays in between.
Bronson Arroyo took his second loss of the losing streak yesterday, and it sounds like it might be the last one of his career.
Arroyo has already allowed 23 home runs, halfway to his career high. Statistically he has been the worst starter in the major leagues this season, although before getting pounded by the pitiful Padres seven days ago he had put together three straight decent-to-good starts.
Yesterday he allowed five runs in only three innings, and any thoughts that this might be one of those famous bad stretches Arroyo used to endure even in his heyday seemed to be erased by his postgame comments.
When a guy sounds like he doesn’t believe in his arm anymore, it’s tough to see it as anything other than over.
Self confidence can be an athlete’s most important tool at times, especially one who has endured as many ups and downs as Arroyo has through the years.
He almost always seemed to find a way to come out on top during his first eight years with the Reds, but time remains undefeated.
Renaissance Reds: Looking back at those who keyed Cincinnati’s most recent successful era
On the bright side, the bats might be waking up again.
The pitching staff has put up some big clunkers in the last nine games, but there were a pair of games in San Diego in which they allowed four and three runs.
Previously slumping Billy Hamilton was 3 for 5 yesterday with two runs scored and an RBI.
He was 2 for 5 on Saturday and also scored a run in that game.
And, yes, I’m going to keep pounding that drum about being in the race this year because it’s still June and also this:
On the bright side, on this date last year the #Reds were 20.5 games out of 1st with a 27-42 record. Makes 7.5 GB easier to look at.— Elise Jesse (@Elise_JesseWLWT) June 19, 2017
As far as I can tell, the NL Central is up for grabs until the Chicago Cubs wake up. They have a lot of talent already, and they have the assets to add other things they might need, so the odds they eventually run away from everyone else are in their favor.
But you never know…
9+ game losing steaks since 2015:— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) June 18, 2017
Also it looks like there’s not much point in tanking the rest of the season because they might not be able to get much in a July selloff anyway.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the Reds will probably have a hard time flipping Zack Cozart for a premium prospect because no contenders need a shortstop.
(They get draft compensation if he leaves as a free agent, but at this point re-signing him might make the most sense if he wants to stay and be a leader on a young and potentially up and coming team. Though they have been stockpiling shortstops it seems, and moving him could allow them to play Jose Perza and Scooter Gennett every day.)
Olney also notes multiple deserving Reds are likely to be left of the NL All-Star roster because of the long standing every-team-must-be-represented/participation trophy rule requiring every team to be represented.
In happier news, the Dayton Dragons will be playing in the postseason no matter how the second half goes.
Lots of fun times at Fifth Third Field so far this summer with hopefully more to come.
Maybe even a Hunter Greene sighting? Time will tell.
One guy who won’t be around any longer: T.J. Friedl.
The all-star outfielder was promoted to advanced Single-A Daytona on Saturday…
In non-baseball news, Ohio State hosted numerous big-time high school football players on campus over the weekend, including Wayne receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith.
Is he the next Warrior to become a Buckeye?
“You’ll have to find out when I commit, man,” Smith said told Land of 10. “I can’t even explain it. Anybody that hasn’t been here, if you come up here, you’ll understand why it’s the place to be. Go to a football game. Trust me. It’s the place to be.”
If he signs with Ohio State, Smith would be the seventh Wayne player to do so since 2000.
John Hollins and Will Allen started the trend in 2000 with Marcus Freeman signing in ’04, Donnie Evege in ’07, Braxton Miller in ’11 and Robert Landers in ’15.
Every Ohio State football roster since the turn of the century has included at least one Wayne grad. Impressive.
You can find more about what happened at the camp in Columbus via Land of 10, including how quarterback Emory Jones looked and what is next for the Buckeyes in terms of recruiting linebackers.