MIAMI – It’s a good thing these September call-up games don’t count, right?
That’s bad news for Jim Riggleman and his last-place Reds, who got shut out Sunday for the fifth time on their 10-game road trip, 6-0, by the even awfuller Marlins. After first stopping in Chicago and Milwaukee, they came home 3-7, losing by a combined score of 35-12.
And to think they still have a five-game homestand this week before the players go to beach and the front office decides on the fate of their interim manager.
Riggleman better hope he's not judged on the last road trip - or the last 2 1/2 months.
In the fans' eyes, Riggleman’s stock has fallen sharply since the All-Star break. After their disastrous 3-15 start under Bryan Price, the Reds went 40-38 (.512) under Riggleman leading up to mid-July. But they are only 23-38 (.377) since then.
That won’t sell new 2019 season tickets or keep the season-ticket holders they have.
Fortunately, the Reds haven’t been as bad at home as they have been on the road.
They finished the road portion of their schedule Sunday at 30-51, their fourth straight season of 50 or more losses away from home. The Reds are almost a .500 team - 36-40 - at home.
“We certainly have to do better than that, and at home also,” Riggleman said after Sunday’s loss. “The road situation has really hurt us. I don’t really know why that would be, but we have to do a better job."
That goes for everybody, including the manager and front office, not just the players who can’t hit and the pitchers who can’t pitch.
On Sunday, that was Michael Lorenzen (3-2), who was hoping to get a leg up on the competition for the starting rotation next spring. Instead, Lorenzen gave up a three-run homer to his Cal State-Fullerton catcher, rookie Chad Wallach, and allowed nine hits in four innings.
Afterward, Lorenzen sounded like a man being eaten alive by ants.
“Nine hits, four innings, eight of them being singles,” Lorenzen said. “They just singled me to death and Wallach kind of threw the knockout punch and got me with it. It’s definitely frustrating. You want them to hit the ball.”
Matt Harvey (7-9, 4.92 ERA overall; 7-7, 4.46 with the Reds) is scheduled to start Tuesday’s opener of a two-game home series against Kansas City. Harvey hasn't done much lately to win a big free-agent contract in the off-season. If Jake Arrietta had to wait till the last week of spring training to get a deal, maybe Harvey should just take a one-year, low-ball deal with the Reds and try to work out all of his kinks and cut down on his gopher balls next year.
The Reds finish with three games against the Pirates starting Friday.