DENVER – The Cincinnati Reds, off to their worst start in club history, found a way to sink even further during their 10-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
Reiver Sanmartin faced 10 batters in the first inning and recorded only two outs in 43 pitches. Sanmartin allowed six hits and two walks with a wild pitch and a balk. The Rockies had a two-run lead after two batters and a four-run lead after four batters.
The Reds, who have won only one game since April 10, trailed by six runs after the first inning and nine runs after the second inning in one of their ugliest games of the year.
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With a 3-19 record, it’s the worst start to a season in franchise history and the worst start by any team since 2003. No Reds team ever had fewer wins through 22 games as the current roster dropped below teams in 2018 team (4-18), 1931 (5-17) and 1913 (4-16-2).
Reds ownership instructed the front office to lower player payroll during the offseason, leading to a rebuild, but a historically bad start raises speculation about ownership looking for a scapegoat. The Reds fired manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins when the team was 3-15 in 2018.
“We really just need to play better in all areas,” Reds Manager David Bell said. “Our focus is turning this around, that’s it. Getting this going in the right direction. I believe so much in what we’re doing as a team, as an organization. We’ve made so much progress and I just want to keep helping contribute to pushing that forward.
“This is a tough spot. I really have a lot of faith in our staff and our team to turn this around. It’s a huge challenge, but I know it’s going to happen. That’s the only focus I have. I haven’t thought of anything else.”
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Sanmartin, who was optioned to Triple-A Louisville following the game with MLB active rosters dropping from 28 players to 26 players on Monday, yielded 22 hits and 20 earned runs in his last nine innings. His season ERA has ballooned to 13.78 through five outings.
“It was purely the confidence,” Sanmartin said through team interpreter Jorge Merlos. “My confidence after the first batter got on base just dropped from there. I was afraid of the batter just getting hits. I couldn’t separate the things that I could control and the things that happened during the game.”
Even after all the ugliness in the first inning, which put the Reds in a 6-0 hole in front of a Coors Field crowd of 32,574, another low point arrived in the second inning.
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Rockies catcher Elias Díaz hit an infield pop-up back to the mound and it dropped past reliever Buck Farmer’s glove for an error. Mike Moustakas, playing first base, wasn’t quick enough to call off Farmer, who attempted to make a basket catch.
“No excuses,” Moustakas said. “That’s a ball that needs to be caught by somebody and I was the somebody who should have caught that ball.”
That was Díaz’s third infield pop-up of the at-bat. Reds catcher Mark Kolozsvary couldn’t prevent the ball from hitting the net behind home plate and third baseman Brandon Drury couldn’t secure a catch when he reached over the dugout railing.
Three batters after Díaz’s pop-up fell, Brendan Rodgers smacked a three-run double off the center-field wall to give the Rockies a nine-run lead. Rodgers entered Sunday with a .078 batting average, and he had two hits and four RBI by the second inning.
“This is how the game is,” Moustakas said. “It’s unforgiving.”
As the calendar flipped to May, the Reds completed one of the worst Aprils in MLB history. The Baltimore Orioles went 0-21 to begin the 1988 season and won only one game in April. The 2003 Detroit Tigers, who lost 119 games, went 3-21 in April.
It was the fifth time the Reds were swept in their seven series. It’s one thing to be outplayed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres on the last road trip. The Rockies entered this weekend fresh off being swept in Philadelphia, outscored 32-9 in the four-game series and they committed seven errors.
“We haven’t been playing good baseball,” Moustakas said. “We keep going out and we keep fighting. That’s the one thing about this team that you could say: We go out there every single day and even if we’re losing, we’re still getting out there, getting after it, playing hard and trying to do things the right way.”
The Reds aren’t a 100-loss team when they’re healthy, but they are nowhere close to that. They have a league-leading 13 players on the Injured List with Jonathan India (hamstring tightness) and Jake Fraley (knee inflammation) as the latest additions Sunday.
After an 83-win season last year, the Reds have the worst record in baseball
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