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Despite glimpses of promise, starting pitching continues to hurt Reds

Three Reds starters among league leaders in home runs allowed

Tyler Mahle has pitched well at times. The same could be said for Sal Romano. Luis Castillo has improved since a rough April. Homer Bailey was the Cincinnati Reds’ best starter in the first two weeks. Matt Harvey has provided a ray of hope in two brief starts.

On the whole, though, starting pitching remains the biggest problem for the Reds (16-32), the worst team in the National League. Despite glimpses of promise by the staff, the numbers don’t lie. The group’s 5.60 ERA won’t get the job done. Only six pitchers in the National League have allowed 10 or more home runs, and the Reds have three of them.

» SPORTS TODAY: Reds pitching regresses

Here’s how the current starters rank 30 percent of the way through the season:

1. Mahle (3-6, 4.53 ERA): The rookie is one of four pitchers to make 10 starts. Of those players, he leads the staff in ERA. He has two scoreless outings. He has allowed four or five earned runs in four starts. He has allowed eight earned runs in 9 1/3 innings in his last two starts. He leads NL pitchers in home runs allowed (13).

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2. Castillo (3-4, 5.61): He had a 7.85 ERA after six starts in April and has reduced it to 5.61 with four strong performances in May. He allowed one run in five innings Saturday in a 5-4 victory against the Chicago Cubs. He’s tied for third in the league in home runs allowed (10).

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3. Harvey (0-0, 3.38): He has made only two starts since being traded from the New York Mets, but the Reds have won both games. He threw four scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his first start and then gave up three runs in four innings against the San Francisco Giants. He’ll make his first start for the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

4. Romano (2-5, 5.62): His ERA stood at 3.83 until his last two starts. He allowed 13 earned runs in 7 1/3 innings in losses to the Giants and Cubs.

5. Bailey (1-6, 6.11): The veteran of the staff has had more trouble than anyone, other than Brandon Finnegan, who was sent to Triple-A Louisville after posting a 7.40 ERA in five starts. Bailey had a 6.43 ERA in 18 starts last season and has been only slightly better this season. His ERA stood at 3.68 after his first five starts. He has not allowed fewer than three earned runs or pitched longer than five innings in his last five starts.

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