McCoy: Interleague play a struggle for Reds

Cincinnati has worst record in major leagues since games against AL began in 1997

With a nasty forecast of an all-day downpour at Progressive Field, the Cincinnati Reds-Cleveland Indians game scheduled for Sunday was postponed.

As far as the Reds are concerned, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to postpone all ther interleague games. And take the Ohio Cup away, too.

Since interleague play began in 1997, it has been an exercise in abject futility for the Reds. They have the worst interleague record of any team in the majors.

Their record is 170-230, a .425 percentage. They haven’t had a winning interleague record for a season since 2013 when they were 11-9. Since then they are 55-90.

And the Ohio Cup? That’s the trinket that only the TV folks talk about. It’s a trophy that goes each year to the winner of the Reds-Indians series.

The Reds haven’t won it since 2014.

If the game had been played Sunday and the Reds won, they would have finally retrieved the award and carted it with them on the rest of their trip to Pittsburgh and Denver.

As it stands, the Reds lead the series, 3-2, and will have to await the makeup game Monday, Aug. 9, to see who owns the cup. The Reds have to win. If they lose and the series is 3-3, Cleveland keeps the cup because if they split the series it stays with the team currently holding it.

With all this in mind, does Reds manager David Bell believe interleague play has outlived its usefulness? Certainly, the novelty is long gone.

“I’m used to it,” said Reds manager David Bell. “I don’t know for sure where we’re headed with it. I do think a lot is going to change over the next couple of years.

“I’ve enjoyed it and I don’t have any reasons off the top of my head to get rid of it,” he added. “I do like competing within our own division, that’s a great part of what we do, especially in our division. It’s great competition.”

Each year, the Reds play interleague games against team in the same division. One year it is against American League East teams, the next year it might be the AL West and the next year the AL Central.

The Reds, though, play the Indians as a “natural rival” every year and this year are also matched against the rest of the AL Central.

“No reasons I can think of to get rid of it,” said Bell, referring to interleague play and obviously not fully aware of his team’s interleague history.

The postponement is a bit of a welcome respite for the Reds because they are at the beginning of playing 30 games in 31 days.

It enables Bell to give his starting staff an extra day off heading into a three-game series beginning Monday night against the last-place Pirates in Pittsburgh.

The rotation was moved back a day, meaning Tyler Mahle, Jeff Hoffman and Sonny Gray face the Pirates.

“We’re about to go on a long stretch without an off day, so this could really work good for us,” said Hoffman, pushed back from Monday to Tuesday. “It’s nice for that little extra breathing room and you get a little more time to prepare.”

Said Bell, “It is going to be a lot of games in a lot of days, but we have had a lot of off days (two last week). This is different than a scheduled off day. You are kinda geared up for a game. But we’ll make it productive with some meetings and workouts while we’re here before we head out to Pittsburgh.”

The team was at Progressive Field all morning and were not scheduled to embark via four buses for the 175-mile across I-76 trip until 3 p.m.


Reds at Pirates, 6:35 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700, 1410

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