Reds’ rally hasn’t gone unnoticed by opposing managers

That sweep by Pittsburgh doesn’t look so bad now, does it?

The Cincinnati Reds stumbled out of the gate for the proverbial “second half” of the 2018 baseball season, being outscored by a combined 27-5 while dropping three straight at home to a Pirates team on the way to matching its longest winning streak since 1965.

“It’s disappointing,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said after the Pirates completed the convincing sweep. “It’s a long season – 162 games. This is kind of the ebb and flow of it. You want to minimize it as much as possible on the downside.”

»RELATED: “Good, young hungry team”

That was the ebb. The Reds were able to turn it into a flow over the remaining seven games of the season’s longest home stand. They took two out of three from the struggling St. Louis Cardinals – the only loss was in 11 innings – before bouncing back from a 9-4 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday to win the remaining three games of the four-game weekend series and outscore the Phillies 16-6, capping the run with a 4-0 win on Sunday over the National League East Division leaders.

“Give some credit to that really good, young, hungry baseball team over there and the job Jim Riggleman is doing as a leader,” first-year Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said after Sunday’s game.

»RELATED: Votto takes the lead

Kapler’s comments echoed those uttered by Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon more than a month earlier while the Reds were completing a giddy four-game sweep of the NL Central Division leaders.

“It’s called baseball,” Maddon said, seeking to derail suggestions that the Cubs failed. “It’s under the category of baseball, but while you’re saying that, don’t denigrate Cincinnati. This is an improved ball club and their pitching is way improved.”

While Cincinnati displayed timely hitting and crisp defense over the weekend against the Phillies, the key to the modest three-game winning streak was a bullpen that literally went overnight from leaky to lockdown. Reds relief pitchers gave up a season-high five home runs on Thursday. They followed over the next three games by logging 10.2 innings in which they allowed just one unearned run.

“I certainly don’t want to be responsible for overdoing it and hurting somebody, but I do feel that, the last several years, we’ve lowered the bar so much as to what we expect from players,” he said. “They can give us more than what we’ve been asking of them in the last several years.”

»RELATED: New arms for bullpen

Riggleman will take starts such as that turned in Sunday by Luis Castillo, who tossed a season-high seven innings and racked up nine strikeouts. Veteran Matt Harvey wasn’t as dominant on Saturday, but allowing just two runs in five innings opened the door for Cincinnati’s improbable sixth-inning rally.

That start might have been the last of what could be a brief Cincinnati stay for Harvey, acquired on May 8 from the Mets for catcher Devin Mesoraco. The pending free agent has been considered to be non-waiver trade deadline bait almost from the day he showed up in Cincinnati. Tuesday is the deadline.

Harvey’s place in the rotation – which would revert back to five pitchers from the six it’s been for the past couple of weeks – would most likely be filled by Homer Bailey, who is scheduled to make his second start since coming off the disabled list on Tuesday as the Reds open a nine-game road trip with the first of two inter-league games in Detroit.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Baker Mayfield leads Browns to first win in 635 days: Social media reacts
Baker Mayfield leads Browns to first win in 635 days: Social media reacts

The Cleveland Browns got back in the win column after 635 days Thursday. In his NFL debut, quarterback Baker Mayfield, the team’s first overall pick in this year’s draft, brought the Browns back from a 14-0 deficit to beat the New York Jets 21-17. Here’s how people reacted to the win on Twitter:
Prep volleyball: Fenwick outlasts Alter, runs winning streak to six
Prep volleyball: Fenwick outlasts Alter, runs winning streak to six

It was a shaky start but a strong finish for the Fenwick High School volleyball team. Despite losing the first set to an Alter team that rattled off 10 consecutive points for the win, the Falcons battled back for a 14-25, 25-5, 25-16, 21-25, 15-9 victory over the Knights Thursday night at Alter. It marked the sixth consecutive win for the 9-3 Falcons...
It’s about time: Cleveland Browns snap 19-game winless streak
It’s about time: Cleveland Browns snap 19-game winless streak

For the first time in 635 days, the Cleveland Browns found a way to win. Baker Mayfield showed them how. The No. 1 overall pick replaced injured starter Tyrod Taylor and sparked the Browns, who got two 1-yard touchdown runs from Carlos Hyde and beat the New York Jets 21-17 on Thursday night for their first win since Dec. 24, 2016. And so ends Cleveland&rsquo...
HS Roundup 9/20: McCarthy, Lahmon lead Oakwood at SWBL tournament

Tom McCarthy shot a 77 to help the Oakwood boys golf squad pick up a ten-stroke win in the Southwestern Buckeye League Tournament at Beechwood Golf Course on Thursday. Sam Lahmon of Oakwood and Noah Lindsey of Waynesville were named players of the year. Alex Grant joined Lahmon and McCarthy on the Southwestern Division All-League first team along with...
HS Results 9/20: Alter tennis secures split of GCLC

Football Thursday’s Results Miami East 52, Bethel 28 Boys Soccer Thursday’s Results Alter 1, Indian Hill 0 Bellbrook 4, Brookville 0 Botkins 3, New Knoxville 0 Butler 2, Northmont 1 Carroll 2, Springboro 1 Dayton Christian 2, Chaminade-Julienne 0 Eaton 5, Franklin 1 Edgewood 2, Northwest 1 Lebanon 4, Middletown 1 Madison 4, Preble Shawnee...
More Stories