The Reds are a professional baseball team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. For decades, they’ve been playing in one of the most historic ballparks in America, with great attractions like Great American Ball Park and the Museum of Natural History and Science. In 2014, they became the first team in the history of professional baseball to have a winning record on the road while losing 100 games at home.
The Reds are currently led by manager David Ross, who took over in 2015 after former manager Bryan Price’s stint at the helm. In recent years, the Reds have been one of the most competitive teams in all of baseball, finishing with a.500+ record in 10 out of 11 seasons from 2011-21. This past season, under Ross, their best record was 35-26 (.586), good for 4th place in the NL Central division.
Why Did the Reds Lose 100 Games at Home?
In most sports, fans usually get a team they love and root for no matter where they are in the country. That’s not the case in baseball, where the Reds consistently draw only 40,000+ fans for their home games at Great American Ball Park. It’s not hard to see why: aside from the small ballpark, the fans have to deal with the fact that the Reds are such bad losers. They seem to always play below their potential and even with their stellar pitching staff, they have the 5th worst ERA in baseball.
The small crowds and bad luck put a damper on what could’ve been a memorable season for the Reds, as they played their home games in front of progressively smaller and smaller crowds. The average attendance at their home games hovered around 33,000 for most of the season, with some games drawing as few as 27,000 and others over 40,000. That’s a significant drop-off from their average of 53,000 in 2015 and 49,000 in 2014. In 2019 alone, the average attendance at their home games was 18,000.
Has It Always Been This Bad?
Even though the Reds went 55-61 in their first two years under Price, they’ve been a bad team since their inception in 1876. They’ve won four NL Pennants and two World Series, but they’ve never finished higher than 4th place in the NL and have never reached the postseason. In their wild card game in 2018, they upset the heavily favored Cubs in extra innings, which was the first time in 29 years that they’ve done so, but the joy of the moment was cut short as they lost the next game. They haven’t been above.500 since 1993, and their postseason drought is the longest in baseball history.
The Redemption Is Coming
This past season, the Reds started slowly before finishing with a flourish. They were in first place for roughly two-thirds of the season, but then things started to slip as injuries and inconsistent play plagued their pitching staff. On the bright side, their play improved as the season wore on, and they ended up winning 12 of their last 16 games to finish the season in 4th place in the NL Central division.
The Reds’ pitching staff has a very high pitch count, and with so many pitchers, it’s no surprise that they’re one of the older teams in baseball. The average age of a Cincinnati pitcher is 33, and many of them have several miles on the road ahead of them. In the eyes of many, it doesn’t seem that their youth movement will fix what’s wrong with this team. One of their biggest off-season moves was bringing in a high-profile free agent arm in Tyler Chatwood, and that hasn’t exactly gone as planned. The lefty has posted an ERA above 5.00 in each of his first two seasons and struggled mightily in the minors before joining the Reds.
Chatwood has been very bad in his first season in Cincinnati, and many feel that he was over-hyped coming out of Colorado. It hasn’t helped that the Reds’ pitching staff has been ravaged by injuries, with only three starting pitchers remaining healthy all season, and it doesn’t seem as though that luck is changing anytime soon. Their offense has been very good on the road this season, however, finishing 6th in the NL in extra-inning RBIs, so maybe the injuries are keeping this team alive. It’s going to be very hard for the Reds to catch the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central standings, as the Cubs are currently 7 games ahead of them. The last time the Reds were this far behind was way back in 1912, so it’ll be a long wait for the reds’ fans to catch up on lost time. Still, there’s always the postseason for the taking, as they’ve been known to do some surprising things in the past. Will this be the year?