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2018 Reds on pace for most losses ever, but is it even among top 5 worst in 162-game era?

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Even after Sunday's 6-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals this year's edition of the Reds is on pace to finish with a 56-106 record, which would give it the most losses in a season in franchise history and the second-worst winning percentage, but is this really one of the worst Reds' teams of all time?

Based on run differential this year's team is actually on pace for a 64-98 record, but I'm still not sure it's even that bad.

It has likely All-Star Game selections in second baseman Scooter Gennett and third baseman Eugenio Suarez and an All-Star-caliber performer in first baseman Joey Votto.

The bullpen is much improved over last season and has been very good for the most part with five relievers currently having an ERA of 2.33 or less.

There are definitely some major weaknesses - the starting pitchers have a 5.79 ERA (which is worst in all of Major League Baseball), two of the four outfielders in the "rotation" are batting below .200 and shortstop Jose Peraza hasn't made much progress at the plate over last season - but since starting the season 3-18 the Reds have gone 20-25 since.

If the Reds win at the same rate over the final 96 games as they have the last 45 games they would finish with a 66-96 record, which is still awful and would tie for the fifth-most losses in a season in franchise history. But is this one of the five worst teams the Reds have ever fielded?

Here is a look at the five worst teams in Reds history since the National League expanded to a 162-game schedule in 1962 based on the Pythagorean Win-Loss Percentage, which is a projected record based on run differential:

5. 1984

  • Record: 70-92.
  • Run Differential: Minus 117.
  • Pythagorean Record: 68-94.
  • Three Best Regular Position Players: RF Dave Parker (.285/.328/.410, 16 HRs, 94 RBI, 73 Runs); LF Gary Redus (.254/.338/.376, 7 HR, 22 RBI, 69 Runs, 48 SBs); 1B/OF Cesar Cedeno (.276/.321/.429, 10 HRs, 47 RBI, 59 Runs, 19 SBs).
  • Three Worst Regular Position Players: C Brad Gulden/Dann Billardello (.217/.299/.292, 6 HRs, 43 RBI combined); 2B Ron Oester (.242/.295/.316, 3 HRs, 38 RBI); 3B Nick Esasky (.193/.308/.348, 10 HRs, 45 RBI).
  • Three Best Pitchers: Mario Soto (18-7, 3.53 ERA); Ted Power (9-7, 2.82 ERA, 11 Saves); John Franco (6-2, 2.61 ERA).
  • Three Worst Pitchers: Frank Pastore (3-8, 6.50 ERA); Tom Hume (4-13, 5.64 ERA); Bruce Berenyi (3-7, 6.00 ERA).
  • The Skinny: This was the final year of a three-year run of misery in which the Reds lost 281 games combined, and this team was on pace to go 66-96 when Vern Rapp was fired and Pete Rose was hired as player-manager with 41 games remaining. Rose led the Reds to a 19-22 finish. The pitching staff also included a good 14-start stint from Jay Tibbs (6-2, 2.86 ERA) and three good starts from Tom Browning (1-0, 1.54 ERA), but no pitcher other than Soto won more than nine games and the staff ERA ranked 11th in the 12-team National League. At the plate the Reds ranked ninth in the National League in runs scored behind a weird mix of veterans (Parker, Cedeno, Dan Driessen and Dave Concepcion) and inexperienced players. Rose actually breathed some life into the offense by batting .365/.430/.458 in 107 plate appearances, but it doesn't say much when a 43-year-old was carrying that big of a load.

4. 2016

  • Record: 68-94.
  • Run Differential: Minus 138.
  • Pythagorean Record: 68-94.
  • Three Best Regular Position Players: 1B Joey Votto (.326/.434/.550, 29 HRs, 97 RBI, 101 Runs); RF Jay Bruce (.265/.316/.559, 25 HRs, 80 RBI in 97 games before being traded); LF Adam Duvall (.241/.297/.498, 33 HRs, 103 RBI, 85 Runs).
  • Three Worst Regular Position Players: CF Billy Hamilton (.260/.321/.343, 3 HRs, 17 RBI, 58 SBs, 69 Runs); C Tucker Barnhart (.257/.323/.379, 7 HRs, 51 RBI); SS Zack Cozart (.252/.308/.425, 16 HRs, 50 RBI, 67 Runs).
  • Three Best Pitchers: Raisel Iglesias (3-2, 2.53 ERA, 6 Saves); Anthony DeSclafani (9-5, 3.28 ERA in 20 starts); Dan Straily (14-8, 3.76 ERA).
  • Three Worst Pitchers: Alfredo Simon (2-7, 9.36 ERA in 15 Gs/11 Starts); John Lamb (1-7, 6.43 ERA in 14 starts); Ross Ohlendorf (5-7, 4.66 ERA in 64 Gs).
  • The Skinny: The offense was actually pretty good as it ranked eighth in the National League in runs scored and every regular other than Hamilton had an OPS above .700. Brandon Finnegan was another pitcher who turned in a solid season (10-11, 3.98), but the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation were a disaster and much of the bullpen wasn't very effective either. The staff ERA of 4.91 ranked 13th in the National League and that was factoring in the quality seasons from Straily, DeScalfani, Finnegan, Iglesias (albeit he was limited to 35 games) and Michael Lorenzen (2-1, 2.88 ERA in 35 games).

3. 2004

  • Record: 76-86.
  • Run Differential: Minus 157.
  • Pythagorean Record: 67-95.
  • Three Best Regular Position Players: LF Adam Dunn (.266/.388/.569, 46 HRs, 102 RBI, 105 Runs); 1B Sean Casey (.324/.381/.534, 24 HRs, 99 RBI, 101 Runs); CF Ken Griffey Jr. (.253/.351/.513, 20 HRs, 60 RBI in 83 Gs).
  • Three Worst Regular Position Players: RF Austin Kearns (.230/.321/.419, 9 HRs, 32 RBI in 64 Gs); 2B D'Angelo Jimenez (.270/.364/.394, 12 HRs, 67 RBI, 76 Runs); C Jason LaRue (.251/.334/.431, 14 HRs, 55 RBI).
  • Three Best Pitchers: Todd Jones (8-2, 3.79 ERA in 51 Gs); Danny Graves (1-6, 3.95 ERA, 41 Saves); Paul Wilson (11-6, 4.36 ERA).
  • Three Worst Pitchers: Jose Acevedo (5-12, 5.94 ERA in 39 Gs/27 Starts); Brandon Claussen (2-8, 6.14 ERA in 14 Starts); Todd Van Poppel (4-6, 6.09 ERA in 48 Gs/11 Starts).
  • The Skinny: Offense really wasn't the problem as the Reds scored 750 runs, which ranked 10th in the then 16-team NL, and 10 of the 11 players who had 295 or more plate appearances had an OPS above .700. Wily Mo Pena hit .259/.316/.527 with 26 HRs and 66 RBI in only 364 plate appearances. The pitching staff on the other hand was just awful with a staff ERA of 5.19, which ranked 15th in the NL. No pitcher who started 11 games of more had an ERA below Wilson's 4.36 and the starters' ERA as a whole was a combined 5.23. The bullpen was gasoline on a fire with a combined ERA of 5.19. The 907 runs allowed is the second-most in a season in franchise history. The 76-86 record may say as much about the job manager Dave Miley did when you consider based on run differential it should have been 67-95.

2. 1982

  • Record: 61-101.
  • Run Differential: Minus 116.
  • Pythagorean Record: 67-95.
  • Three Best Regular Position Players: 1B Dan Driessen (.269/.368/.421, 17 HRs, 57 RBI, 64 Runs); CF Cesar Cedeno (.289/.346/.413, 8 HRs, 57 RBI); LF Eddie Milner (.268/.338/.378, 4 HRs, 31 RBI, 61 Runs).
  • Three Worst Regular Position Players: RF Paul Householder (.211/.265/.326, 9 HRs, 34 RBI); C Alex Trevino (.251/.318/.304); RB Ron Oester (.260/.303/.359).
  • Three Best Pitchers: Mario Soto (14-13, 2.79 ERA); Jim Kern (3-5, 2.84 ERA in 50 Gs); Joe Price (3-4, 2.85 ERA in 59 Gs).
  • Three Worst Pitchers: Tom Seaver (5-13, 5.50 ERA in 21 starts); Charlie Liebrandt (5-7, 5.10 ERA in 36 Gs/11 starts); Greg Harris (2-6, 4.83 ERA in 31 Gs/10 starts).
  • The Skinny: This is the only team in franchise history to lose 100 games and you can pin that squarely on the lack of offense. The team scored 545 runs, which is the fewest in a 162-game season in franchise history. Driessen and Cedeno actually led the team in RBI with 57 each and Driessen's 64 runs scored were a team high. The pitching wasn't great as the staff ERA of 3.66 ranked eighth in the then 12-team National League, but consider No. 2 starter Bruce Berenyi posted a 3.36 ERA in 34 starts and finished with a 9-18 record.

1. 2003

  • Record: 69-93.
  • Run Differential: Minus 192.
  • Pythagorean Record: 63-99.
  • Three Best Regular Position Players: RF Jose Guillen (.337/.385/.629, 23 HRs, 63 RBI in 91 Gs); CF Ken Griffey Jr. (.247/.370/.566, 13 HRs 26 RBI); LF Adam Dunn (.215/.354/.465, 27 HRs, 57 RBI).
  • Three Worst Regular Position Players: IF Juan Castro (.253/.290/.388, 9 HRs, 33 RBI in 113 Gs); SS Barry Larkin (.282/.345/.382, 2 HRs, 18 RBI in 70 games); SS Ray Olmedo (.239/.280/.274 in 79 Gs).
  • Three Best Pitchers: Scott Williamson (5-3, 3.19 ERA, 21 Saves in 42 Gs); Felix Heredia (5-2, 3.00 ERA in 57 Gs); Kent Mercker (0-2, 2.35 ERA in 34 Gs).
  • Three Worst Pitchers: Ryan Dempster (3-7, 6.54 ERA in 22 Gs/20 starts); Jimmy Haynes (2-12, 6.30 ERA in 18 starts); Danny Graves (4-15, 5.33 ERA in 30 Gs/26 starts).
  • The Skinny: The offense was banged up and the pitching staff was just awful. Every "starter" had an OPS of .726 or better, but the Reds ranked just 13th of 16 NL teams in runs scored. The pitching staff was a complete mess. The ERA of the starters was 5.77 and they averaged barely over five innings per start. The relievers weren't great either with a 4.03 ERA.

FIVE MOST LOSSES IN TEAM HISTORY: 1982 (101); 1934 (99); 2015/1937 (98); 2001/1931 (96).

FIVE WORST WINNING PERCENTAGES IN TEAM HISTORY: 1934 (.344/52-99-1); 1937 (.364/56-98-1); 1901 (.374/52-87-3); 1931 (.377/58-96); 1982 (.377/61-101).

FIRST WORST PYTHAGOREAN PROJECTED WINNING PERCENTAGES IN TEAM HISTORY: 1901 (.334); 1934 (.364); 1933 (.383); 1945 (.384); 1930 (.386).

CONCLUSION

The Skinny: The Reds current offense ranks seventh in the NL in runs scored, and the starting pitching staff is young with some upside, especially now that Anthony DeSclafani is back. This team still has the potential to lose less than 90 games, which would certainly keep it from ranking among the worst since 1962.

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