The Cincinnati Reds have reached rare territory in the baseball history book — and not the kind of place you want to tread for long — with a 2-12 start.
It’s the worst beginning for the Reds since 1931 when they were also 2-12. That team lost five more games before winning its third game.
“It’s not fun,” said Reds manager Bryan Price on Sunday before the finale of a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park. “It’s not comfortable. It always turns; it will turn. When you’re in it, you feel, ‘When is it going to turn?’ You get impatient. We’re all impatient and frustrated, but inevitably, it will turn.”
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Only 18 teams in Major League Baseball history have started worse than 2-12. That doesn’t count teams from the early days of baseball that had a tie in their first 14 games.
Four teams have started 0-14, including the 1997 Chicago Cubs and the 1988 Baltimore Orioles, who set a record with the worst start in baseball history (0-21).
Fourteen teams have started 1-13, the most recent example being the 2003 Detroit Tigers, who finished the season 43-119 and with the worst winning percentage (.265) of the past 50 years.
The Reds are the 34th team to start 2-12. The 2015 Milwaukee Brewers were the last team to start 2-12. They finished 68-94. The Brewers fell to 2-13 that season — the last three losses in that start coming against the Reds — before beating the Reds 4-2 in Milwaukee on April 23. They fired manager Ron Roenicke after 25 games that season. The Brewers were 7-18 at that point.
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Three teams that have started 2-12 have finished the season with a winning record. The 1916 New York Giants started 2-12 and finished 86-66. The 1996 Boston Red Sox started 2-12 and finished 85-77. The 1951 New York Giants started 2-12 and finished 98-59. Eleven teams that started 2-12 or worse lost 100 or more games.
Price talked Saturday after the seventh defeat in a row, a 6-1 loss to the Cardinals, about the importance of continuing to show spirit and heart during this tough stretch and expanded on that thought Sunday.
“I think what I’m seeing is a lot of frustration now,” Price said. “I think guys are frustrated because they know under the worst of circumstances no one sees us as a 2-12 club. There’s no excuse. There’s no one trying to say, ‘We don’t have this or we don’t have that.’ We talk about the 25 guys we do have, and I feel we’re good enough to go out there and win more games than we have. That frustration is palpable. There’s no doubt about that. But as far as guys coming in early to prepare and playing hard on the field, that absolutely has not changed. The frustration has changed and will continue to until we start playing better ball.”
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