Sports Today: Reds rookies walking into oblivion

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett and Devin Mesoraco pause after Garrett was hit on the hand by a groundball during a game against Indians on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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Reds pitcher Amir Garrett and Devin Mesoraco pause after Garrett was hit on the hand by a groundball during a game against Indians on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

What’s wrong with all the young starters for the Cincinnati Reds?

Their struggles this season are kind of bizarre.

That is the takeaway from last night’s 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay.

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Amir Garrett got a couple of early runs, but he was gone by the end of the fourth inning.

His final line: six runs on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. He allowed two home runs.

After a fantastic start to the season, Garrett is down to 3-6 with a 7.41 ERA.

His 29 walks are the most on the team even though he has made fewer starts than Scott Feldman or Bronson Arroyo.

Free passes are a common problem with the five big starter prospects to appear for the Reds this season.

Rookie Davis walked 13 in 19 innings.

Brandon Finnegan (who ultimately went on the disabled list) walked nine in 10 innings.

Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed, both of whom spent most of their time getting sporadic work in the bullpen before going back to Triple-A, walked a combined 31 in 28 2/3 innings.

These are incredible numbers.

This is not just a bit of a walk problem, occasional bouts with wildness or something like that.

It’s a chronic issue affecting multiple players, a huge hurdle in the team’s rebuild.

What will it take to get over it?

Nobody seemed to have the answer last night, though manager Bryan Price talked about having "to compete in the zone better."

Translation: Throw strikes.

Seems someone is just going to have to suck it up and start being more aggressive.

On the bright side, this is not the 1990s when pitching coach Don Gullett kept being given guys off the scrapheap and told to cobble something together.

Throwing strikes would be an issue then, too, but it’s no wonder why they were afraid to challenge hitters. They didn’t have the arm talent to win consistently so they had to rely on deception.

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These young guys all have the stuff to succeed, but will any of them get the confidence to use it?

Reed’s numbers have been good at Louisville… other than walking 28.

Stephenson has made three stars for the Bats, walking 10 in just 13 innings.

The most important task for the rest of the season looks like it will be for the Reds to figure out how to get at least a couple of these guys to flip the switch so they have something to build on for the years to come…

The recruiting world churns on, and it may just be getting started now that summer is officially here. 

Tavion Thomas, a four-star running back from Dunbar who had a meteoric rise in the recruiting world from the week after National Signing Day in February through early spring, has made his choice: Oklahoma.

🙌🏾☑️‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️🤘🏽🤘🏽🤘🏽🤘🏽🤘🏽🤘🏽🤘🏽🤘🏽 @LincolnRiley— lackofworries🎈🎈 (@tavionthomas937) June 20, 2017

Thomas is the seventh area player to commit, joining Fairfield defensive end Malik Vann (Cincinnati), Marion Local offensive lineman John Dirksen (Notre Dame), Wayne defensive end Alex Reigelsperger (Kentucky), Belmont defensive back Jadon Rucker-Furlow (Miami University), Lakota West defensive tackle Tyler Bentley (Kentucky) and Shawnee running back Jack McCrory (Ohio).

Nearly 40 area players have been put in one of the recruiting site databases or have already gotten a Division I offer, so camp season could be pretty exciting around these parts.

Sidney running back Isaiah Bowser is set to announce his choice Friday. He received an offer from Northwestern earlier this week.

His many offers also include Cincinnati, Miami University, Air Force, Navy and Bowling Green.

Stay tuned for all the updates on Bowser and everyone else.

As always, let us know if we missed anyone or you have any tips:

One of what could be many big moves this week in the NBA occurred last night as the Los Angeles Lakers traded former Ohio State star D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets.

Russell, who parlayed a magnificent freshman season in Columbus into becoming the No. 2 pick in the draft two years ago, trades one rudderless organization for another.

I continued to be amazed at how quickly people out west seemed to sour on Russell, who at 19 had to deal with the sky-high expectations of the Lakers while playing for all-time bad coach Byron Scott and with all-time bad teammate Kobe Bryant.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say no one could have succeeded in that situation, although he certainly didn’t help himself with the infamous Nick Young tape.

Russell may have some maturity issues (as most people his age do), but he also has great size for the point guard position and plays a unique game, so a change of scenery may be good for him.

Let’s hope.

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