The Cincinnati Reds rarely seemed to perform well on their West Coast road trips, but this was a completely new level of failure. They lost all seven games they played in Southern California.
They finished their road trip with a 6-0 loss to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, their first shutout of the season. They had two leads throughout the journey, neither of which lasted more than eight minutes.
The Reds were struggling against Padres rookie MacKenzie Gore. They left two runners in the first inning. Votto was thrown out at the plate while attempting to score from second on a single to left field at the end of the fourth.
Kyle Farmer: ‘It sucks’
“Yeah, it sucks,” said the Reds catcher Kyle Farmer. “I know how the fans feel in Cincinnati. Obviously, we feel the same way. We’ve just got to get back to the basics and keep working.”
“Embarrassing,” said the Reds first baseman Joey Votto. “Very frustrating. It feels like it’s been like groundhog day over the last couple of weeks. It’s been one of the uglier stretches I remember experiencing in a Reds uniform.”
The Reds have the lowest record in baseball at 2-11. The Reds are currently in their first nine-game losing streak since June 2017’s 9-18, and they’re now six games down in the divisional rankings.
Profar’s homer in the fourth inning was all the support rookie MacKenzie Gore (1-0) needed to earn his first big league victory in his second appearance since his debut. To finish the three-game sweep, the left-hander limited the Reds to four hits in five innings, striking out seven and walking two.
With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Profar homered to the right off Vladimir Gutiérrez, bringing in Manny Machado. It was Profar’s fourth of the season.
Gutiérrez (0-3) struck Machado in the left shoulder with a pitch to start the fourth inning. On Tuesday night, Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson was pulled from the game by Luke Voit’s heavy slide. Some Reds players said Voit’s action was nasty, and Tommy Pham, who played for the Padres the previous two seasons, said he wanted to fight the Padres hitter.
The Reds requested a review of the play, but the umpires judged it clean. Voit did not play on Wednesday, so Machado served as the designated hitter. Gutierrez led off the fifth inning by hitting Padres catcher Jorge Alfaro with a fastball. Alfaro advanced to second on Trent Grisham’s double.
Outlook on the Reds
The Reds have scored three runs in seven of their previous eight games, and they have not led at the end of an inning since a 6-3 victory over Atlanta on April 10. According to Bally Sports Ohio statistician Joel Luckhaupt, it was the longest the Reds had gone without a lead after the home half of an inning since the 90-inning drought in August 1945.
The Reds have the league’s poorest on-base percentage (.247), the second-worst batting average (.177), and the second-worst slugging percentage (.277). They have not had more than seven hits in their past 12 games, the longest stretch since 1941.
“All good teams go through it,” said Reds manager David Bell. “We’re going through it in a big way early in the year, so it’s magnified. This is still our time. We have to use this time to get better. The way you handle it will dictate that.”