CINCINNATI – The Reds closed their home season with a thud Thursday afternoon, but it could have been worse.
The 5-3 loss to the Cubs was the Reds' 12th straight loss - their worst streak since 1993. Luckily, the one thing preventing them from challenging the team's all-time worst streak is the fact that they have only three games left.
The franchise's longest losing streak is 19 in 1914, when they finished 60-94.
Mercifully, this year's Reds (63-96) finish with three games at Pittsburgh Friday through Sunday. But if they lose Friday, they will match the club's longest losing streak in 70 years. The 1945 Reds lost 13 straight.
At least they won't match the franchise's worst record: that was 52-99 (.344) in 1934. And they won't be the Reds' team with the most losses. That's the 1982 team that went 61-101 (.377).
The Reds still have a chance to avoid being the worst team in baseball this year. They're one game better than the Phillies (62-97).
But if the Reds get swept by the Pirates, they will go home 63-99 (.389) with a 15-game losing streak. And if the Cardinals win out to boot, the Reds will finish a whopping 40 games out of first place.
Reds starter John Lamb (1-5) gave up a three-run homer to Austin Jackson Thursday and surrendered all of the Cubs' runs in 4 2/3 innings.
The good news: Joey Votto went 2-for-5 and extended his on-base streak to 47 – one short of Pete Rose's club record in 1978, when he tied the NL record with a 44-game hitting streak.
Votto's streak is baseball's longest since Kevin Millar's 52-game stretch in 2007. But he has a long way to go to match the MLB record - 84 by Ted Williams from July 1 through Sept. 27, 1949. (Some records books give Frank Thomas 90 in 1995-96, but they don't count games in which he was a DH and didn't get on. Go figure).
The Reds finished 0-7 on their last homestand of the season and lost their last eight home games to close with a 34-47 home record, the worst at Great American Ball Park and the franchise worst since 2001.
Thursday's crowd of 26,352 pushed Cincinnati's season total to 2,419,506, down 57,158 in a season during which the Reds hosted the All-Star Game from last season's 2,476,664.