Reds playing better but still on pace for 100 losses

Cincinnati Reds' Kyle Farmer (17), Tyler Naquin (12) and Brandon Drury (22) celebrate with teammates after a baseball game against the New York Yankees on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in New York. The Reds won 4-3. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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Cincinnati Reds' Kyle Farmer (17), Tyler Naquin (12) and Brandon Drury (22) celebrate with teammates after a baseball game against the New York Yankees on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in New York. The Reds won 4-3. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

MVP of the first half is infielder Brandon Drury

The Cincinnati Reds reached the All-Star break with the third-worst record (34-57) in baseball. That’s an accomplishment of sorts because they were on pace to not only be the worst team in baseball after a 3-22 start but one of the worst teams in baseball history.

Instead, the Reds rebounded to find a modest amount of respectability, if that’s possible for a last-place team. They’re 31-35 since May 7. If that level of winning continues, they’ll avoid the second 100-loss season in franchise history. Their current .374 winning percentage puts them on pace to finish right around 100 losses.

The Reds sent one player, starting pitcher Luis Castillo, to the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Los Angeles. They return to action Friday at home against the St. Louis Cardinals. Here’s a breakdown of the Reds in the first half.

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MVP: Infielder Brandon Drury, who signed as a free agent in March, leads the team in home runs (18) and RBIs (52). He’s hitting .278 in 81 games

Best rookie: Alexis Diaz, a 12th-round pick in 2015, is 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 32 relief appearances.

Diaz is one of eight players to make their big-league debuts for the Reds this season, along with starting pitchers Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft, relievers Daniel Duarte and Jared Solomon and catchers Mark Kolozsvary and Chris Okey.

Best starting pitcher: Castillo made the All-Star team for the first time since 2019. He’s 3-4 with a 2.77 ERA in 13 starts and allowed three earned runs in 27 innings in his last four starts before the All-Star break.

Castillo began the season on the injured list and didn’t pitch until May 9. The team was 5-23 without him.

Best sophomore performance: In his second season, catcher Tyler Stephenson is hitting .319 with six home runs and 35 RBIs in 49 games. The team was 1-9 when he was sidelined by a concussion in April and 10-17 when he was sidelined by a broken thumb in June and early July.

Biggest disappointment (position players): Second baseman Mike Moustakas, a career .248 hitter, is hitting .210 in 63 games. He hit .208 last season in 62 games last season, and he’s hitting .214 in three seasons with the Reds.

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Biggest disappointment (pitchers): Mike Minor, who the Reds acquired from the Kansas City Royals in March for reliever Amir Garrett, is 1-6 with a 6.21 ERA in eight starts. He did not make his season debut until June 3 because of a shoulder injury.

Best stat: Greene threw 39 pitches clocked at 100 miles per hour or more in a start April 16 and threw 38 in a game July 9. Those are the two highest totals in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008).

Greene has shown flashes of brilliance in his rookie season but is 3-11 with a 5.78 ERA in 18 starts. He leads baseball in home runs allowed (23).

Worst stat: The Reds rank last in baseball in team ERA (5.30). The relievers have a 5.42 ERA, which ranks last in baseball. The starters rank second to last with a 5.23 ERA.

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