The Cincinnati Reds are in yet another losing season, but the team is still setting records – just not necessarily the kind fans want.
The Reds lost to the Boston Red Sox 5-3 at Great American Ball Park Sept. 20, which – given the season the Reds are having – isn't much of a surprise. The game's notoriety, however, came from starting pitcher Nick Lodolo, who nipped three Sox batters and helped Cincinnati set the Major League Baseball record for the most hit opponents in a single season. The Reds now have plunked 99 batters in 2022, claiming the previous record from the Chicago Cubs, who had hit 98 players in 2021.
Lodolo's curveball was the culprit, as he noted during post-game interviews.
"There’s no question I didn’t have the best command of the zone. I was falling behind guys. Was just losing my curveball a little bit," Lodolo told reporters.
"We've seen that a couple times, where it's breaking so much that he can't quite get a feel for where to start it out because it just sweeps so much, and that led to some of the hit-by-pitches," manager David Bell agreed.
The rookie had pitched brilliantly in recent games, striking out 11 each on Sept. 9 and 14. On Tuesday, he K'd seven while walking three and allowing two home runs over five innings in front of just 16,698 fans. His ERA stands at 3.90.
The Reds conclude the series with the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 21 at GABP. The final weeks of the season also will include series against the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates. The 2022 season-ending series will be against the Chicago Cubs Oct. 3-5 in Cincinnati.
The Reds' home opener for the 2023 regular season will be March 30 against the Pirates. Each MLB team will battle each other at least once during the season.
Another losing seasonThe Cincinnati Reds were eliminated from all 2022 postseason contention after losing a double-header to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on Sept. 13. They previously were eliminated from the National League Central race after the Sept. 10 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. Going into the games on Sept. 21, the St. Louis Cardinals and the seemingly immortal Albert Pujols are leading the Brewers in the NL Central by 8.5 games.
As of press time, the Reds are 58-90 on the 2022 season and are 28.5 games behind the NL Central-leading Cardinals. Even if the Reds were to win all 14 of their remaining games – a highly unlikely scenario – the team still would be upside down on its record with a win percentage of just .444 at best.
Earlier this year, baseball experts had predicted that the Reds were on pace for a 125-loss season – the lowest for any team since 1900, thanks, in part, to that worst start ever.
Postseason action has been hard to come by for the Reds, who also did not see any extended play in 2021. During the COVID-shortened 2020 season, the Reds made it to the Wild Card playoffs but lost to the Atlanta Braves without scoring at all; before that, Cincinnati hadn’t been to the postseason since 2013. The Reds have had just five winning seasons out of the last 21; that will worsen to five of 22 seasons, once 2022 wraps up.
Fan enthusiasm and trust have been waning since the Reds lost free agents like 2021 All-Star outfielder Nick Castellanos during the offseason and traded away big contributors like outfielder Jesse Winker, third baseman Eugenio Suárez and pitcher Sonny Gray. This summer, the team also traded outfielder Tommy Pham, starting pitcher Luis Castillo, outfielder Tyler Naquin, starting pitcher Tyler Mahle and infielder Brandon Drury.
Just before the start of the season, Reds owner Bob Castellini said that he wanted to concentrate on developing younger players, and the team has indeed cut payroll. Feeling betrayed and fearing that 2022 would not be a legitimate push for playoff glory, some fans raised more than $4,000 ahead of Opening Day for a billboard urging Castellini to sell the Reds to someone who would invest in winning. That I-75 billboard and fans' growing lack of trust in the team elicited a sharp response from the Reds' chief operating officer – and Bob Castellini's son – Phil Castellini who told 700 AM WLW radio that Cincinnatians essentially just have to deal with it when the team repeatedly refuses to pay for productive veteran players. Phil Castellini later walked back his comments and sent an apology note to Reds staff.