Jim Riggleman keeps doing his best to remain optimistic as the Cincinnati Reds season spirals deeper into a pit of despair.
Bryan Price was 3-15 when the Reds fired him. Riggleman took over as interim manager and fell to 5-12 on Monday as the Reds lost 7-6 to the New York Mets in the opener of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds (8-27) reached 27 losses three weeks earlier than they did a season ago. They didn’t fall 19 games under .500 until July 26 last season. They’re on pace to finish 36-126.
» RELATED: Finnegan will get at least one more start
Riggleman remains confident his team won’t flirt with the kind of season that would go into the history books for all the wrong reasons.
“The bottom line is we came up short,” Riggleman said. “People get tired of hearing it, but I’ll tell you what, I promise you, it’s going to click in. I’m not sure what day it’s going to click in, but it is and we’re going to make some noise in this division.”
The Reds will have to get their starting rotation on track for that to happen. Homer Bailey (0-5, 5.61) allowed six earned runs on eight hits in four innings. Reds starters are 5-19 with a 5.68 ERA, the worst in baseball.
It was the second game in a row a Reds starter hadn’t pitched past the fourth inning. Brandon Finnegan lasted 3 1/3 innings Sunday in an 8-5 loss to the Miami Marlins.
The Reds took Bailey out of the game when they pinch hit Alex Blandino with Tucker Barnhart at second base in the fourth. Otherwise, Bailey would have pitched the fifth.
“I felt fine,” Bailey said. “I knew I didn’t have my best stuff, but if I could pick up an inning for the guys in the bullpen, who have already been picking us up, I just felt it was something I needed to do.”
The Reds fell to 0-8 when Bailey starts. He has allowed 11 earned runs in nine innings in his last two starts.
“I’ve noticed a few things,” Bailey said. “It’s going to take a little bit of time to sort them out.”
The Reds offense did its part to make the game competitive. Billy Hamilton, Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett hit home runs. Suarez went 2-for-4 to raise his average to a team-best .290.
“We’ve been down three or four runs many games, and with the exception of (Sunday), I’m really proud of our guys with how they’ve got after it,” Riggleman said. “(Sunday) for some reason, we fell a little flat when we were only down a couple. You just felt the team was down over that issue, but tonight we were right back at it. A lot of energy in the dugout, great at-bats.”