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Reds dealing with off-field distractions, bullpen woes in opening days of season

Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer interview (July 26)

Lorenzen gives up ninth-inning home run as Reds lose second straight to Tigers

The Cincinnati Reds talked about their high hopes for the 2020 season throughout Summer Camp and then backed up their optimism with a 7-1 victory on Opening Day.

ExplorePhotos: Reds vs. Tigers

The next two days dashed all the excitement — and not just because of the final results.

A 6-4 loss Saturday and a 3-2 loss Sunday to the Detroit Tigers left the Reds with a 1-2 start. Just as important was the news Saturday that infielder Matt Davidson was placed on the 10-day injured list after a positive COVID-19 test and the news Sunday that second baseman Mike Moustakas was placed on the injured list because he wasn’t feeling well, while center fielder Nick Senzel was scratched from the lineup for the same reason.

“There’s obviously concern with the individuals and hoping everyone’s OK,” Reds starter Trevor Bauer said. “Trying to keep everybody healthy is really important. We’re taking a lot of precautions as a league and as a team. Everyone’s being smart about it and taking care of themselves as well as they can. These are the circumstances this year. We’re concerned about our teammates for sure, but at the same time, we have to balance that with trying to go out and win.”

Bauer allowed one run on two hits and struck out 13 in 6 1/3 innings. The game was tied 1-1 when he left the game. In the ninth, C.J. Cron hit a two-run home run against Michael Lorenzen.

The Reds scored one run in the bottom of the ninth and had runners on the corners with one out. Joey Votto grounded into a double play to end the game.

ExploreNOTES: Pitchers on a strikeout roll

“It sucks,” Bauer said. “We had a real chance to win three. We hold ourselves to the standard that we should have won those games. It is is what it is at that point. We’ll come out tomorrow and get back in the win column. That’s all we can do.”

The bullpen blew the game late for the second straight day. Reds relievers gave up five runs in the last three innings Saturday. Lorenzen gave up a go-ahead home run Miguel Cabrera in the seventh inning in that game and suffered a similar fate in the third game of the season.

“My mind is there,” Lorenzen said. “With more reps, my pitches will get a little sharper, and I‘ll just keep moving forward. Just losing games is tough no matter what the situation is or what’s going on. I work as hard as I do to find success on the field. When you feel that hard work isn’t paying off, you just got to keep moving forward and trust things will start going your way.”

ExplorePhotos from Opening Day

The Reds start a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on Monday. There was no indication about how long Moustakas and Senzel will be sidelined. With those two and Davidson out Sunday, the Reds were without three Opening Day starters.

“This is all new,” manager David Bell said. “As everyone knows around the world, it’s a big deal. We’re all dealing with it. From that standpoint, it’s new. The other side of it is it’s kind of what we do. We put distractions aside and go out and perform at a really high level. We are used to doing that. It’s not easy, but we are grateful for the opportunity to do that. That’s what we’re being called to do right now.”

MONDAY’S GAME

Cubs at Reds, 6:40 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410