SAN DIEGO – The Cincinnati Reds seemingly never play well on their West Coast road trips, but this was a different level of futility.
They went winless in their seven games in Southern California. They ended the road trip with a 6-0 loss to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, the first time they were shut out this season. They held two leads during the entire road trip and neither lasted more than eight minutes.
The Reds have a 2-11 record, the worst in baseball. It’s the first time the Reds have lost nine consecutive games since June 9-18, 2017, and now they’re already six games back in the divisional standings.
“Embarrassing,” Joey Votto said. “Very frustrating. It feels like it’s been groundhog day over the last couple of weeks. It’s been one of the uglier stretches I remember experiencing in a Reds uniform.”
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Vladimir Gutierrez permitted only two hits against the Padres across 4 2/3 innings. It still turned into three runs. Jurickson Profar blasted a go-ahead, two-run homer in the fourth inning. Trent Grisham added an RBI double in the fifth.
The Reds failed to do much against Padres rookie lefty MacKenzie Gore. They stranded two runners in the first inning. Votto was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on a single to left field to end the fourth inning.
“Yeah, it sucks,” Kyle Farmer said. “I know how the fans feel in Cincinnati. Obviously, we feel the same way. We’ve just got to get back to the basics and keep working.”
After splitting a four-game series in Atlanta to begin the season, the Reds have been in a downward spiral. They haven’t won a game since team president Phil Castellini said “well, where are you going to go?” in response to fan backlash at the ownership group in a radio interview.
Here’s the state of the Reds after their first four series of the season:
• The Reds have a Major League-leading 13 players on the Injured List. Reliever Lucas Sims is expected to return to the bullpen Friday, but they’re without Luis Castillo and Mike Minor in the rotation. Jonathan India, Mike Moustakas, Donovan Solano, Jose Barrero and Max Schrock are missing from the infield. Tyler Naquin remains out with an illness.
All teams deal with injuries, but the Reds have essentially burned through their 40-man roster. Plus, they lost key depth when they parted with several popular players during the offseason, the result of cutting player payroll.
“Every team deals with stuff like this,” Votto said. “No excuses. A nine-game losing streak is a reflection of how we played. It’s not entirely a reflection of how many people are on the IL. I’ve been on teams that have dealt with stuff like this and we continued to win , and we clearly haven’t. It’s just not acceptable. “
• Teams always look more lifeless when they’re not scoring runs. The Reds have scored three or fewer runs in their last eight games and they have not held a lead at the completion of an inning since their 6-3 win in Atlanta on April 10, an 81-inning streak. It’s the longest the Reds have gone without a lead after the home half of the inning since a 90-inning streak in Aug. 1945, according to Bally Sports Ohio statistician Joel Luckhaupt.
As a team, the Reds have the league’s worst on-base percentage (.247), second-worst batting average (.177) and second-worst slugging percentage (.277). They haven’t totaled more than seven hits in their last 12 games, a streak that hasn’t happened since 1941.
The Reds had only two batters in their lineup Wednesday hitting above .200 this season: Farmer and Aramis Garcia.
“All good teams go through it,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We’re going through it in a big way early in the year, so it’s magnified. This is still our time. We have to use this time to get better. The way you handle it will dictate that.”
• There is more pressure on the pitching staff to be perfect because of the slumping offense. The Reds have the second-highest ERA (5.92) in the Majors, and they lead the league with 59 walks across 108 innings.
The rotation features three rookies and one second-year starter alongside Tyler Mahle. There have been only two starts, one by Hunter Greene and one by Reiver Sanmartin, where the starter pitched into the sixth inning.
It’s been a tough schedule in the first two weeks of the season, but it won’t ease up when the Reds play host to the St. Louis Cardinals and Padres homestand during their upcoming six-game.
“This game is so long, you play for six months out of the year, 162 games, so if you start being negative now, you start digging a hole,” Farmer said. “That’s no fun to be in.”
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Inquirer: Cincinnati Reds end winless road trip with shutout loss to Padres: