Cincinnati Reds own worst starting rotation in baseball

Reds starter Scott Feldman pitches against the Giants on Sunday, May 7, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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Reds starter Scott Feldman pitches against the Giants on Sunday, May 7, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

ERA for Reds starters is 5.57 through 40 games

Dark clouds covered Great American Ball Park late Friday afternoon — in the literal and figurative senses.

The Cincinnati Reds left town May 10 on top of the world, or at least close to the top of the National League Central Division. They returned home Thursday from Chicago after their sixth straight loss wondering if a change of scenery, even if it is just a five-game homestand, will do them any good.

Nothing will change Cincinnati’s fortune if it doesn’t fix its starting pitching. Through Thursday, Reds starters had the worst ERA in baseball (5.57) by a rather large margin. The Cleveland Indians’ rotation ranked second to last (5.15). By comparison, last season Reds starters had a 4.79 ERA that ranked 25th in baseball.

»ASK HAL: No quick fixes for rotation

Injuries to proven starters and struggles by young pitchers and the veteran free agents the Reds signed in the offseason have combined to create the worst rotation in baseball in the first seven weeks of the season.

“This is the third or fourth year of doing this,” said manager Bryan Price on Friday before the start of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies, “going back to ‘13 when (Mat) Latos was hurt and (Homer) Bailey got hurt and we had to deal with some of those issues. That just went into ‘15 and ‘16, not having an intact rotation. It’s not unique. It is something you learn to deal with. I would say I’m a lot better at handling it and knowing what to expect in 2017 as opposed to ‘14 or ‘15 or ‘16.”

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There isn’t much Price can do at this point. The best ERA among starters in the current rotation belongs to Scott Feldman (2-4, 4.29). Amir Garrett (3-3, 5.18) had the best numbers in April. He was sent to Triple-A to rest his arm and allowed six earned runs in four innings Thursday in his return to the big leagues.

Bronson Arroyo (3-3) has had his moments, but his ERA stands at 6.31 after eight starts. Tim Adleman (2-2, 5.27) and Lisalverto Bonilla (0-1, 4.85) are the other options until Brandon Finnegan, Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani get healthy or until the Reds give the next young arm from the minor leagues a chance.

“We’ve run a lot of rookie arms through here,” Price said. “Some have learned to swim here. Others have sank to the bottom. It’s one way of finding out what we have in the system. Who’s a big leaguer? Who isn’t? Who needs more seasoning? And who’s better as a reliever than as a starter? It’s a challenge, but it’s what we signed up for.”


SATURDAY’S GAME

Rockies at Reds, 4:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

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