Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Cincinnati Reds

news

Reds News

Castillo battles, but Reds thwarted by Cardinals

Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Luis Castillo knew his start on Sunday against the Cardinals would be an uphill battle from the start.

"At the beginning of the first inning, I knew my command wasn't good enough," Castillo said through an interpreter. "When that happens, you've got go out there and compete, and that's what I did for the rest of the game and I was able to pitch into the fifth."

View Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- Luis Castillo knew his start on Sunday against the Cardinals would be an uphill battle from the start.

"At the beginning of the first inning, I knew my command wasn't good enough," Castillo said through an interpreter. "When that happens, you've got go out there and compete, and that's what I did for the rest of the game and I was able to pitch into the fifth."

View Full Game Coverage

Castillo's control issues, the Reds' quiet offense and reliever Kevin Quackenbush's rough outing added up to a 9-2 loss that completed a three-game sweep for the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Castillo (1-3) gave up three runs on seven hits and a season-high four walks in five innings, as the Reds lost to the Cardinals for the seventh straight time this season and 11th time in a row dating back to Sept. 14, 2017, matching St. Louis' 11-game streak against Cincinnati in 1949.

The Reds fell to 3-18, the worst start through 21 games in franchise history.

Castillo pitched out of trouble in the first, fourth and fifth innings to limit the damage, but he created some extra trouble for himself by his inability to cleanly field a Dexter Fowler bouncer that was ruled an infield hit and scored the Cardinals' second run in the third.

"In that situation, sometimes you rush," Castillo said. "That's what I did trying to get the out at home plate."

Video: CIN@STL: Fowler plates Carpenter with infield single

Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman chose to look at the positives regarding Castillo.

"It shows how talented he is to only give up three runs because he was not sharp at all," Riggleman said. "But there's better days for him and for the ballclub, and we're always happy to hand him the ball and run him out there because we know how talented he is."

Castillo's velocity was in the mid-90s on Sunday, not nearing triple digits as it did last year. But Castillo said it's there if he needs it.

"I'm not sure where his velocity was last year for most of the year," Riggleman said. "He might have been a tick higher than he is right now. But everything will be looked at. He looks dominating at times and gets the necessary groundball double play and all that, but for his talent, his repertoire of pitches, it should not be this big a struggle at this time."

The Reds' bullpen, which had gone 19 consecutive scoreless innings before a Yadier Molina home run in the seventh of Saturday's loss, surrendered six runs in three frames on Sunday. All of those runs were charged to Quackenbush, who allowed a three-run homer to Paul DeJong in the seventh and a two-run double to Greg Garcia in the eighth to break open a one-run game.

Video: CIN@STL: DeJong extends the lead with three-run homer

Cincinnati couldn't muster much against Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas (3-0), who permitted two runs (one earned) and struck out a season-high six batters over seven innings. The Reds capitalized on a Matt Carpenter throwing error to allow Jose Peraza to reach to lead off the sixth. Jesse Winker and Joey Votto followed with RBI hits for the Reds' two runs.

"I can promise you this: Hitters -- whether the results show or not -- they're giving you 100 percent when they step into the batter's box," Riggleman said. "That's where they make their money. Their focus is going to be there. It's just not happening right now the way we've seen it the last couple of years with pretty much the same group."

Video: CIN@STL: Winker rips an RBI double to right

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A pair of inning-ending double plays thwarted potential Cardinals scoring chances and kept the Reds close. In the first, Castillo escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam by getting DeJong to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.

Video: CIN@STL: Castillo induces the DP to leaves bases full

In the fifth, third baseman Alex Blandino snared a liner off of the bat of Tyler O'Neill and doubled off Fowler at third with an unassisted double play.

"The first one was huge because we're going to have to get someone up in the bullpen in the first inning there," Riggleman said. "And the last one was a line-drive bullet. That's not a groundball double play that you're feeling like [it's a] great pitch. The guy squared it up pretty good, so we were fortunate there."

Video: CIN@STL: Blandino turns unassisted DP to end ining

SOUND SMART
Votto's RBI single in the sixth moved him past Justin Morneau for the second-most hits all time for a Canadian-born player. Votto's 1,604 career hits trail just Larry Walker (2,160).

Video: CIN@STL: Votto drives in Winker with RBI single

HE SAID IT
"Messages are so weak. You either got it or you don't. You either can do it or you can't. Messages are the biggest waste of time. You're either capable or you're not." -- Votto, on the Reds' offensive struggles

UP NEXT
Right-hander Sal Romano (0-2, 5.75 ERA) seeks his first win of the season as the Reds open a four-game home series against the Braves, who counter with righty Brandon McCarthy (3-0, 2.91 ERA), on Monday. Romano won his lone career start against the Braves, allowing just one run in seven innings on Aug. 18, 2017. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. ET.

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Cincinnati Reds, Luis Castillo

Suarez, Lorenzen travel with club, on the mend

Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Reds infielder Eugenio Suarez has started hitting off of a tee without any pain as he continues to recover from a fractured right thumb.

Suarez sustained the injury after getting hit by a Jameson Taillon pitch against the Pirates on April 8. The Reds placed him on the disabled list the next day.

View Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- Reds infielder Eugenio Suarez has started hitting off of a tee without any pain as he continues to recover from a fractured right thumb.

Suarez sustained the injury after getting hit by a Jameson Taillon pitch against the Pirates on April 8. The Reds placed him on the disabled list the next day.

View Full Game Coverage

"He's a quick healer," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "I can't tell you when he'll be back, but I'd say it will be quicker than most people who have sustained that same injury."

Video: CIN@PIT: Suarez gets hit in the hand, exits game

Suarez compiled a .296 average with two home runs and seven RBIs in just 27 at-bats before he got hurt. Suarez is encouraged by his progress.

"Tee and soft toss, I did it yesterday, and I will do it today, too, and we'll see what happens today and tomorrow," Suarez said.

Michael Lorenzen (right shoulder) also made the road trip, and the reliever is making progress.

"He's got a schedule of throwing, I believe tomorrow, in the outfield and flat ground-type stuff," Riggleman said. "I believe he's got a couple of those sessions, and then get him in a bullpen after a day off from that."

Riggleman hopes Lorenzen will be ready for a rehab assignment in a couple of weeks.

Reds go green 
Sunday is Earth Day, and the Reds are among many Major League clubs leading the charge to become more environmentally friendly.

The Reds have installed LED field lighting at Great American Ball Park. The lights enhance the fan experience, are more energy efficient and have a lifespan of 30 years.

The Reds have also placed 200 recycle bins throughout their home park. The team installed pedal faucet controls in all concession areas and replaced existing urinals with .125 gallons per flush units.

The Reds donated food to local food banks and excess clothing, office supplies and kitchenware to local non-profit organizations.

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Cincinnati Reds, Michael Lorenzen, Eugenio Suarez

Santillan makes Pipeline Team of the Week

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances in the Minor Leagues from the previous week. Any player on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible.

It's just our second edition of Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week and we already have a pair of repeat performers.

MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances in the Minor Leagues from the previous week. Any player on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible.

It's just our second edition of Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week and we already have a pair of repeat performers.

2018 Prospect Teams of the Week

Nationals outfielder Juan Soto and Orioles lefty Zac Lowther have earned back-to-back honors, with both showing that the South Atlantic League is not so challenging for them thus far. Soto is joined by two other members of our Top 100 and Lowther is accompanied by a fellow member of the 2017 Draft class.  

Here is the latest addition of Prospect Team of the Week, for the week of April 16-22.

C: Austin Allen, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)
(Padres' No. 28 prospect)
6 G, .500/.577/.909, 7 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K

Allen was a two-time PTOW honoree last year in a season that saw him hit 22 homers and slug .497. Those wanting to see if that was a California League mirage should be pleased with his start, as his 11-for-22 week (with five extra-base hits) now has him hitting .373 with a .780 slugging percentage and six homers in the Texas League. He tops the circuit in slugging and OPS (1.202).

Watch: Allen crushes a double

1B: Sam Travis, Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A)
(Red Sox's No. 5 prospect)
6 G, .417/.500/.625, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K

Travis had four straight multi-hit games Monday through Thursday, starting with a two-hit performance that included his first home run of the International League season. Even with an 0-for-5 to end the week, he was still able to raise his season slash line to .346/.414/.462.

Watch: Travis ties score with two-run single

2B: David Fletcher, Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A)
(Angels' No. 24 prospect)
6 G, .467/.484/.767, 9 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB

Fletcher nearly made the big league team out of Spring Training and is now hitting like he wants to force his way there. He has a seven-game hitting streak going and has raised his average from .172 on April 11 to .366. Four three-hit games this past week certainly helped and he picked up his first homer of the year while not striking out all week.

Watch: Fletcher doubles as part of four-hit game

3B: Austin Riley, Mississippi Braves (Double-A)
(Braves' No. 8 prospect/MLB No. 97)
6 G, .522/.560/1.043, 5 R, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K

Riley has historically been a slow starter, but he's trying to reverse that trend in the Southern League in the early going. He led all prospects who can qualify for PTOW with 24 total bases last week and is now tied for second in the league with 14 RBIs and is fourth in OPS (1.190). His .386 average puts him eighth in the circuit.

Watch: Riley crushes third homer of 2018

SS: Brendan Rodgers, Hartford Yard Goats (Double-A)
(Rockies' No. 1 prospect/MLB No. 14)
6 G, .520/.538/.800, 3 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB, 4 K

When the week began, Rodgers was hitting just .143. Now he's up to .300 after a week that saw him hit in all six games he played in. He kicked things off with a three-hit performance and finished by going 5-for-5 on Sunday, including crushing his third home run of the season. Thanks to the week, Rodgers is now eighth in the Eastern League with his .533 slugging percentage.

Watch: Rodgers homers as part of five-hit day

OF: Calvin Mitchell, West Virginia Power (Class A)
(Pirates' No. 16 prospect)
7 G, .467/.500/.733, 5 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB, 6 K

Heading to full-season ball as a high school draftee can be tough, but Mitchell, the Pirates' second-round pick last June, seems to be adjusting just fine. He now has an eight-game hitting streak going and had four multi-hit games this past week. He homered and drove in three runs on Wednesday before going 4-for-4 with four RBIs on Saturday. He's currently fourth in the South Atlantic League in batting average (.364) and OPS (1.070) and fifth in slugging (.652).

OF: Myles Straw, Corpus Christi Hooks (Double-A)
(Astros' No. 21 prospect)
6 G, .520/.581/.680, 5 R, 2 3B, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SB, 4 K

Straw has a six-game hitting streak going, starting last week with a four-hit game and adding a 5-for-5 showing on Saturday. That's pushed his average up over .400 (he's second in the Texas League at .407). He also swiped three bases, giving him a league-leading 11 steals on the season (tied for third in the Minors).

Watch: Straw's four-hit night

OF: Juan Soto, Hagerstown Suns (Class A)
(Nationals' No. 2 prospect/MLB No. 29)
6 G, .391/.481/.739, 5 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 6 K

Soto showed an innate knack for hitting last year, but also missed most of the season with injuries. He's showing it was no fluke with how he's begun his 2018 campaign back in the South Atlantic League, with four two-hit games this last week. His advanced approach is clearly working, as he leads the SAL with his .486 on-base percentage. Soto's raw power is showing up in games: He tops the circuit in OPS (1.300) and slugging (.814) while his five homers put him in a tie for third. His strong start to the year earned him a promotion to Class A Advanced Potomac of the Carolina League.

Watch: Soto crushes three-run homer

LHP: Zac Lowther, Delmarva Shorebirds (Class A)
(Orioles' No. 17 prospect)
1-1, 0.90 ERA, 2 GS, 10 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 18 K, 0.60 WHIP

Lowther is back again, even if he did give up some hits and a run. After beginning his year with six no-hit innings, the southpaw followed it up with two five-inning starts. Combined, he now has a ridiculous 31/2 K/BB ratio over his first 16 innings of work in the South Atlantic League to go along with a .094 batting average against and 0.44 WHIP.

RHP: Tony Santillan, Daytona Tortugas (Class A Advanced)
(Reds' No. 5 prospect)
2-0, 0.71 ERA, 2 GS, 12 2/3 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 0.79 WHIP

Santillan has always had dynamic stuff and he's coming off of a strong full season in the Midwest League. The one thing that has been a bit of a question mark has been his command, but if the start to his Florida State League season is any indication, he's headed in the right direction. After a week that saw him win both decisions, he's now gone at least six innings in three of his four starts this year with a 2.0 BB/9 rate.

RP: Seranthony Dominguez, Reading Fightin Phils (Double-A)
(Phillies' No. 12 prospect)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 0.00 WHIP

Dominguez moved to the bullpen for the first time this season and the new role seems to suit him. His past as a starter still lets him go multiple innings, as he had a three-inning, no-hit, six-strikeout game on Wednesday and now has 17 K's (vs. just two walks) in 11 total innings.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Santillan among top prospect performers

Rockies' No. 1 racks up five hits, goes deep
MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Sunday.

It was a perfect end to the week for Brendan Rodgers, as the Rockies' No. 1 prospect hit a two-run homer and a double while going 5-for-5 in Double-A Hartford's 11-9 win over Harrisburg.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Sunday.

It was a perfect end to the week for Brendan Rodgers, as the Rockies' No. 1 prospect hit a two-run homer and a double while going 5-for-5 in Double-A Hartford's 11-9 win over Harrisburg.

Rodgers, MLB Pipeline's No. 14 overall prospect, singled in his first two at-bats before connecting on a home run to left field, his third homer this season, in the bottom of the fourth inning. He added his third single of the contest in his next at-bat and then capped his big game with an RBI double as part of Hartford's four-run eighth inning.

The five-hit game was the third in Rodgers' career. The 21-year-old shortstop previously accomplished the feat with Class A Advanced Lancaster (June 9, 2017) and Rookie-level Grand Junction (July 12, 2015). It also extended Rodgers' hitting streak to six games, during which he's lifted his batting average from .143 to .300.

Rodgers homers on five-hit day

Fellow Rockies prospects Garrett Hampson (No. 7) and Yonathan Daza (No. 20) also collected multiple hits and plated a run in the Yard Goats' victory, while Brain Mundell (No. 18) connected on his first home run in a 2-for-5 performance.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Sunday

No. 2 overall prospect Ronald Acuna (Braves' No. 1) extended his hitting streak to five games with a 3-for-6 effort for Triple-A Gwinnett. The three hits were a season high for the 20-year-old phenom, who has lifted his average from .139 to .217, while also scoring five runs, during his current streak.

Video: Top Prospects: Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves

No. 22 overall prospect Willy Adames' (Rays' No. 2) first home run of the season was a big one, as the 22-year-old shortstop connected on a second-inning grand slam in Triple-A Durham's rout of Lehigh Valley. It was the fourth straight game in which Adames tallied at least one hit and one RBI.

Adames' grand slam

No. 26 overall prospect Sixto Sanchez (Phillies' No. 1) was a tough-luck loser for Class A Advanced Clearwater despite tossing six innings of two-run ball. The 19-year-old right-hander, making his second start this season, scattered six hits, walked one and struck out five in the performance, throwing 63 of his 83 pitches for strikes.

No. 36 overall prospect Luis Urias (Padres' No. 3) filled out the stat sheet, tallying two hits, three runs, two RBIs and two walks in Triple-A El Paso's win over Las Vegas. The 20-year-old second baseman began his day with a two-run home run, his second this season, and went on to reach base three more times to finish 2-for-3. It was the second straight two-hit game for Urias.

Video: Top Prospects: Luis Urias, 2B, Padres

No. 68 overall prospect Fernando Romero (Twins' No. 2) was dominant for Triple-A Rochester, tossing 6 2/3 innings of one-run, two-hit ball with 10 strikeouts in a loss against Columbus. A 23-year-old right-hander, Romero is still in search of his first 2018 win but owns a 1.69 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 16 innings across his three starts.

Romero fans his 10th batter

Dodgers No. 15 prospect Connor Wong capped his week just as he did the last one -- by hitting a pair of home runs for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. The 2017 third-rounder connected on a two-run shot in the first inning and added a solo shot in the sixth, giving Wong eight home runs (as well as eight multi-hit performances) in his first 12 games. He also had an RBI single in the ninth for a total of four RBIs on the day.

Mets No. 14 prospect Anthony Kay -- a first-round Draft pick in 2016 who missed all of '17 while recovering from Tommy John surgery -- picked up his first professional win behind six scoreless innings for Class A Columbia. The 23-year-old lefty threw 59 of his 92 pitches for strikes, as he allowed three hits, walked one and struck out five to lead the Fireflies past Hickory, 5-0. Kay has pitched well to begin the season, logging a 1.69 ERA across his first 16 innings (three starts) as a pro.

Kay picks up his fifth strikeout

Nationals No. 9 prospect Daniel Johnson enjoyed his best offensive performance of the season, going 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and three runs as Double-A Harrisburg fell to Hartford, 11-9. The home run, a solo shot in the second inning, was the first this season for the Senators' leadoff man. In 2017, Johnson, 22, was one of 10 Minor Leaguers to finish with at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases, tallying 22 in each category.

Video: Top Prospects: Daniel Johnson, OF, Nationals

Orioles No. 17 prospect Zac Lowther recorded double-digit strikeouts for the second time in three starts for Class A Delmarva. After striking out 13 and seven batters in his first two starts, respectively, the 21-year-old lefty fanned 11 batters in five innings Sunday while allowing one earned run on two hits and one walk. All together, Lowther has punched out 31 batters and allowed just five hits in 16 innings this season.

Reds No. 6 prospect Tony Santillan allowed his first earned run of the season in his fourth start for Class A Advanced Daytona, a 5-1 win against Dunedin. Working 6 2/3 frames, the 21-year-old right-hander yielded six hits and a walk while striking out six. He also induced eight ground-ball outs in the outing while throwing 57 of 87 pitches for strikes. He's 3-0 with a 0.40 ERA and a 24-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 22 2/3 innings on the season.

Red Sox No. 12 prospect Bobby Dalbec belted a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the 10th inning that powered Class A Advanced Salem to a 6-4 win over Winston-Salem. The home run, Dalbec's fifth this season, capped a two-hit, four-RBI game for the 22-year-old third baseman, who had doubled earlier in the contest. He's produced a .923 OPS with 10 extra-base hits and 16 RBIs in 17 games.

Dalbec's extra-inning homer

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Relentless Reds keep rallying, but fall short

Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- The Reds' offense came alive against the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, a bullpen that had been rock solid of late couldn't make it stand.

Yadier Molina's solo homer off of Jared Hughes (0-2) in the bottom of the seventh broke a tie and lifted the Cardinals to a 4-3 win at Busch Stadium. The Reds lost for the sixth straight time to the Cardinals and 10th straight dating back to last season. Cincinnati has lost 12 out of its last 13.

View Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- The Reds' offense came alive against the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, a bullpen that had been rock solid of late couldn't make it stand.

Yadier Molina's solo homer off of Jared Hughes (0-2) in the bottom of the seventh broke a tie and lifted the Cardinals to a 4-3 win at Busch Stadium. The Reds lost for the sixth straight time to the Cardinals and 10th straight dating back to last season. Cincinnati has lost 12 out of its last 13.

View Full Game Coverage

Molina's homer, which gave him 800 career RBIs, snapped a 19-inning shutout streak by Reds relievers.

Video: CIN@STL: Molina puts Cards back on top with solo jack

"Jared's done a great job for us, and he just left one up there and Yadi didn't miss it," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We knew he really hit it good. Our only hope was that the wind would knock it down a little bit, but it got out of there."

The Reds scored three times with two outs in the top of the seventh to tie the game. Jose Peraza's RBI single started the scoring, and Scooter Gennett's two-run single gave Cincinnati its first multi-run frame in 36 innings.

"We're seeing a little progress," Riggleman said. "We're getting closer. Certainly it's not what we're looking to do, is get close, but there was some encouragement."

Video: CIN@STL: Peraza drives in Ervin with knock to right

Even in the loss, the Reds lineup showed signs of life. Jesse Winker singled twice and reached four times. Peraza reached three times. Gennett had a pair of singles and Joey Votto walked four times.

"We're just trying to be optimistic on that end that things are going to turn around and those inches here and there will be in our favor at some point," Gennett said. "We've got to keep that thought rather than, 'Man, you know we just can't catch a break.'"

Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks (1-0) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first Major League decision. The Reds loaded the bases against Hicks with one out in the ninth, but the rookie got Gennett to bounce into a double play to end the game.

"It's tough," Gennett said. "An outer third fastball that I normally don't get on top of, but for some reason I did and it's just the game."

Video: CIN@STL: Hicks induces a game-ending double play

Reds starter Homer Bailey fell an out shy of a quality start, giving up three runs in 5 2/3 innings. He made two mistakes, giving up a two-run homer to Paul DeJong in the second and a solo homer to Dexter Fowler to lead off the sixth.

Bailey wasn't pleased with his outing.

"I did some things I wasn't happy with and didn't have a slider much today," Bailey said. "We were able to rely with my fourth pitch, my curveball. Tried to hold them the best we could, our defense did a good job and we saw our offense coming through there at the end. It was just one of those days where you had to fight back and forth."

Video: CIN@STL: Bailey whiffs Martinez, strands a pair

Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez shut out the Reds over six innings. Martinez has thrown 13 shutout innings in two starts this season against the Reds, and has not allowed a run in his last 18 innings.

"He's always tough," Riggleman said. "We've seen him last week and I thought last week he threw a little bit more off-speed stuff, and today it felt like he turned it up with his fastball a little more often. He's a pitcher. He's a power guy, but he's dazzling you with a good repertoire of soft stuff too."

Video: CIN@STL: Martinez throws six scoreless, fans seven 

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Peraza appeared to hit into an inning-ending double play in the top of the fifth, but Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong was slow on the turn, allowing Peraza to reach first safely and giving the Reds runners on the corners with Votto batting. Votto stung one to left-center field but Harrison Bader caught the line drive on the warning track to end the rally.

SOUND SMART
The Reds fell to 3-17, matching the worst 20-game start to a season in franchise history (they were also 3-17 in 1931 and finished with a 58-96 record).

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Wong made up for his inability to turn a double play in the fifth, with a sensational over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field on a soft liner by Adam Duvall in the sixth. Wong was able to complete the 4-3 double play after Gennett, who led off the inning with a single, broke for second to end a possible Reds rally.

"I thought it was down off the bat," Gennett said. "At the same time, it's tough because, if you go halfway, if he does make the catch it might be tough to get back -- or the opposite, if it does fall it might be tough to get to second. In theory, the only thing really I could have done was stay at first, and if it falls let him get me at second and only make one out, but no one is really going to do those things."

Video: CIN@STL: Wong makes great snag, turns double play

HE SAID IT
"Somebody who would press is somebody who would be worried about getting sent to Triple-A, but the rest of the guys, they know that the world is not going to end if they don't get a hit today or drive in that tying run or whatever." -- Riggleman, on if the Reds are pressing

UP NEXT
Righty Luis Castillo (1-2, 6.75 ERA) will make his second career appearance against the Cardinals, who counter with Miles Mikolas (2-0, 4.26 ERA) in the finale of a three-game series Sunday at 2:15 p.m. ET. Castillo took a two-hitter into the bottom of the seventh before allowing four runs in the Reds' 10-4 win over Milwaukee in his last start on Monday.

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Cincinnati Reds

Schebler provides boost, options for Reds' OF

Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- With the return of Scott Schebler from the disabled list, the Cincinnati Reds will go back to the four-man outfield rotation they planned on having when the season started.

Schebler provides a power bat for an offense that has scored just two runs over the past 28 innings, heading into Saturday's game. He joins a group consisting of Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Jesse Winker.

View Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- With the return of Scott Schebler from the disabled list, the Cincinnati Reds will go back to the four-man outfield rotation they planned on having when the season started.

Schebler provides a power bat for an offense that has scored just two runs over the past 28 innings, heading into Saturday's game. He joins a group consisting of Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Jesse Winker.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: CIN@MIL: Duvall smacks an RBI double to left field

"If it becomes a situation where it's just so clear that there's three, and the fourth guy becomes a weapon off the bench, we would do that," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We had a plan coming out of Spring Training to rotate those four and we'd like to stay with that for as long as possible."

Each of the outfielders has a different skill set. Hamilton is the speedster, Winker has a plus bat and Duvall and Schebler are power hitters. Hamilton and Duvall are also excellent defenders.

Video: CIN@MIL: Hamilton hits second RBI single of the game

"The dilemma is Billy," Riggleman said. "There's nobody like Billy. I know what the numbers say -- and graphs all over baseball, who covers what out there -- but we see it. The plays that he's made are unbelievable, and invariably when he's not out there, a ball gets hit and you're like, 'Aw man, Billy would have had that one.'

"But we've got a really good young hitter in Winker, and we've got Schebler and Duvall, [who each have] hit [at least] 30 homers [in a season], and you can't dismiss what they did, so there's going to be days where Billy's going to be the one who sits."

Video: STL@CIN: Two runs score on Winker's single in the 1st

When Winker plays, expect him in the leadoff role. He has a .422 on-base percentage when batting first, which should give more RBI opportunities for the likes of Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett, Schebler and Duvall.

Hamilton could spend more time batting ninth behind the pitcher for the same reason. Riggleman batted Ian Desmond behind the pitcher when he managed in Washington, and the Nationals won 10 out of 11 with that lineup. He likes that lineup configuration depending on matchups.

"The time you would get burned, and I've rarely seen it happen, is you have a hell of a rally in the first inning, and they were able to start pitching around people in the sixth or seventh slot knowing you can get to the pitcher batting eighth," Riggleman said.

Riggleman pointed out that having such a rotation isn't totally out of the blue. He pointed to the Cubs, who won the World Series in 2016 using a similar rotation, trying to find at-bats among five players.

Injury update
Right-hander David Hernandez (right shoulder inflammation) got off to a rocky start in his rehab assignment Friday night at Triple-A Louisville, giving up four runs in one-third of an inning.

Riggleman is more concerned about making sure Hernandez is healthy, rather than the stat line.

"The key is we have to get him healthy," Riggleman said. "How he feels the next day is very important.

"When I was in Louisville and [Aroldis] Chapman came down there, he may have been hit harder than any pitcher we had all year. Two days in a row he pitched, and I couldn't get him through an inning either day, threw more than 30 pitches both days, and left-handed hitters were smoking balls against him and the radar gun is saying 102. It's bizarre, and his first outing up here he struck out the side. Certainly we give an account for what takes place, but it's not ultimately the determining factor."

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Cincinnati Reds, Scott Schebler

'Pen solid again, but Reds drop opener to Cards

Relievers push scoreless streak to 18 1/3 innings
Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Starting pitching woes and a sluggish offense conspired to spoil Jim Riggleman's debut as the Reds' interim manager, as the Cardinals won the opener of a three-game series, 4-2, on Friday night at Busch Stadium. The Reds lost for the 11th time in their last 12 games and fell to the Cardinals for the fifth straight time this season.

In just his second game back after suffering a left biceps strain in Spring Training, Brandon Finnegan (0-2) lasted just three innings and gave up four runs on five hits and four walks. Three of those runs came in a 33-pitch first inning.

View Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- Starting pitching woes and a sluggish offense conspired to spoil Jim Riggleman's debut as the Reds' interim manager, as the Cardinals won the opener of a three-game series, 4-2, on Friday night at Busch Stadium. The Reds lost for the 11th time in their last 12 games and fell to the Cardinals for the fifth straight time this season.

In just his second game back after suffering a left biceps strain in Spring Training, Brandon Finnegan (0-2) lasted just three innings and gave up four runs on five hits and four walks. Three of those runs came in a 33-pitch first inning.

View Full Game Coverage

"He is getting closer," Riggleman said. "He's such a good competitor, but he was struggling with his control. Left some balls up. It's a good-hitting ballclub, and you're not going to get away with those pitches."

In two starts, Finnegan has given up nine runs in 7 1/3 innings and has walked eight batters.

"The positive out of this is getting a lot of weak contact in both games," Finnegan said. "Two swings both games that really did everything. Other than that, you can't walk guys."

Video: CIN@STL: Finnegan strikes out DeJong looking

The Reds' bullpen, meanwhile, continued to shine. Dylan Floro kept the Reds in the game with three scoreless innings of relief, and Kevin Quackenbush and Raisel Iglesias followed with scoreless innings of their own to run the scoreless streak from Reds relievers 18 1/3 innings, dating back to last Saturday.

"They've been good," Riggleman said. "Particularly Floro to keep us in the hunt there; that was big. And Quackenbush, another good inning. Iglesias, we don't really want to be pitching him in games where we're three runs down, but that's kind of where we've been lately, and to keep him in some ball games, we have to do that. But again he put a zero up, and they all gave us a chance."

The Reds did get a few key hitters back. Scott Schebler, who was reinstated from the disabled list before the game, was initially announced as the pinch-hitter for Floro in the top of the seventh, but was pulled in favor of Devin Mesoraco when the Cardinals made a pitching change. Mesoraco had been day to day after leaving Tuesday's game with a bruised wrist.

Cardinals starter Michael Wacha (3-1) entered with a 5.52 ERA, but allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings. Bud Norris gave up a run on Alex Blandino's RBI single, but recovered to earn his fifth save.

Video: CIN@STL: Blandino drives in a run with a single

"With the three-run lead there in the ninth, Norris is going to challenge you," Blandino said. "He gave me a pitch to hit, and it found a hole."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jose Peraza snapped the Reds' scoreless streak at 21 innings with a sacrifice fly that scored Billy Hamilton in the top of the third inning.

Video: CIN@STL: Peraza drives in run with sac fly in the 3rd The rally was cut short, however, as Jesse Winker was thrown out trying to advance to second on the same play, which ended the inning.

Video: CIN@STL: Gyorko turns DP by throwing out Winker

SOUND SMART
The Cardinals have beaten the Reds nine straight games dating back to Sept. 14, 2017. It is the longest winning streak for St. Louis over Cincinnati since the Cardinals won 11 in a row in 1949.

HE SAID IT
"It wasn't quite like riding a bike. I was very excited to get the opportunity again. I preface everything by saying this for me is still about Bryan Price and the respect I have for him. We want to do some good things and carry on his message, and our guys did. They played hard, and they loved Bryan. We want to go hard on behalf of everybody and this city, the fans. They deserve better baseball, and they're going to get better baseball." -- Riggleman, on managing again

Riggleman thankful for managerial opportunity

UP NEXT
Homer Bailey (0-3, 3.42 ERA) will get the start as the Reds face Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez (2-1, 1.75 ERA) in the second game of a three-game series at St. Louis on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. ET. Bailey gave up three runs in seven innings to record the 100th quality start of his career against the Cardinals last Sunday.

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Cincinnati Reds

Riggleman thankful for managerial opportunity

Interim skipper says change to routine may be necessary after Reds' slow start
Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman is not exactly planning on reinventing the wheel in an attempt to turn the team's fortunes around.

Riggleman, previously the Reds' bench coach, was named the interim skipper after manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins were dismissed Thursday. Pat Kelly, who was the manager at Triple-A Louisville, was promoted to be the interim bench coach, and Double-A Pensacola pitching coach Danny Darwin was promoted to interim pitching coach.

View Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman is not exactly planning on reinventing the wheel in an attempt to turn the team's fortunes around.

Riggleman, previously the Reds' bench coach, was named the interim skipper after manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins were dismissed Thursday. Pat Kelly, who was the manager at Triple-A Louisville, was promoted to be the interim bench coach, and Double-A Pensacola pitching coach Danny Darwin was promoted to interim pitching coach.

View Full Game Coverage

"If I say we're going to do things different, it's an insult to Bryan, as if Bryan wasn't doing it right," Riggleman said. "Bryan is as fine a man as I've ever met in baseball. He's a class act, and he was on top of everything."

Still, something has to give with the Reds off to a 3-15 start.

"The only reason to do anything different is because we weren't winning," Riggleman said. "So maybe you have to do a little something different. Maybe we have to schedule something different or do something earlier on the field. Just have some different approach so the players don't get locked into, 'I guess we're OK.' Because we're not OK. We've got to get better."

Riggleman has managed over 12 seasons with the Padres, Cubs, Mariners and Nationals. He led the Cubs to the National League Wild Card Game in 1998.

His last stop in Washington ended on a rocky note with ownership, leaving open the possibility that Riggleman wouldn't get another shot to manage again.

"I don't want to talk too much about the past, I want to move forward," Riggleman said. "I will say that when I left Washington, that wasn't a knee-jerk [reaction]. It was something that was thought out for a period of time, and I knew I may not get another chance. In a perfect world, I wouldn't have gotten another chance because Bryan would still be managing this club."

Video: Williams on replacing Price, Riggleman on taking over

Darwin is familiar with the Reds' pitchers from Spring Training and the Minors.

"Just try to get them to go out and throw first-pitch strikes, get ahead," Darwin said. "We're going to pitch inside. That's one thing I really think needs to happen here, try to get that part of the plate. Other than that, just let them be themselves."

Kelly said he and Darwin's experience with the Reds' younger players is a plus.

"Both Danny and I have had these guys, so we have a pretty good feel for them and their emotions and skills, and I think we can add a little bit to the staff."

It is fitting that Riggleman is starting his stint as Reds manager in St. Louis. He got his first taste of managing in the Cardinals' Minor League system, and former Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog will visit with him Saturday.

"I never had any designs of coaching or managing in the big leagues," Riggleman said. "Me and my co-workers in the Minors with the Cardinals used to say if they gave me a 20-year contract right now, I'd take it to manage in the Minor Leagues."

Riggleman is grateful to the Reds' organization for giving him another chance.

"The Reds gave me a job when a lot of people would say, 'We're staying away from that guy,'" Riggleman said. "Anything they want me to do, that's what I'll do. If it's a week or several years, whatever."

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Cincinnati Reds

Reds players express gratitude for Price's role

Votto, others have good things to say about recently dismissed skipper
Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- The mood in the Reds' clubhouse was subdued prior to Friday's game against the Cardinals as the players gathered for the first time since manager Bryan Price was dismissed.

Price went 279-387 in five seasons as Cincinnati's manager and the Reds have struggled to a 3-15 start, leading to his ouster on Thursday. Jim Riggleman was named the interim manager.

View Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- The mood in the Reds' clubhouse was subdued prior to Friday's game against the Cardinals as the players gathered for the first time since manager Bryan Price was dismissed.

Price went 279-387 in five seasons as Cincinnati's manager and the Reds have struggled to a 3-15 start, leading to his ouster on Thursday. Jim Riggleman was named the interim manager.

View Full Game Coverage

"I care a lot about Bryan, and I have a great deal of respect for him and enjoyed working with him and for him," Reds first baseman Joey Votto said. "We've got to just play better ball."

Pitching coach Mack Jenkins was also dismissed. Triple-A manager Pat Kelly was promoted to interim bench coach to replace Riggleman, and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin was promoted to interim pitching coach.

Video: Reds dismiss Price, name Riggleman interim manager

Second baseman Scooter Gennett said the players found out the same time as the media.

"I feel like if we didn't have the off-day, it would probably be a little different," Gennett said. "I think we'll have some type of team meeting and go from there."

Gennett said the team owes it to Price to play better.

"Obviously we've had a rough stretch here the first couple of weeks," Gennett said. "But knowing Bryan, he would want us to keep after it and turn this thing around. Even though he's not here right now, I know that he wants the best for us, and I think we owe him that."

Votto said the team will rally around Riggleman.

"He's our manager, and I've got to make sure that I prepare and do as well as I can for him as the new manager," Votto said.

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Cincinnati Reds

5 reasons why better times are ahead for Reds

MLB.com @m_sheldon

Changing the manager -- as the Reds did Thursday -- doesn't mean instant improvement for a 3-15 club. Progress is up to the players -- both those already on the roster and perhaps others who could be arriving in the future. It's also up to the front office to put the next manager in position to develop a winning culture.

The goal at the outset of the season was for Cincinnati to turn the corner -- to transition from rebuild back toward contending. So far, that obviously has not happened, but that doesn't mean that it can't. Here are five reasons that things can get better for the Reds going forward:

Changing the manager -- as the Reds did Thursday -- doesn't mean instant improvement for a 3-15 club. Progress is up to the players -- both those already on the roster and perhaps others who could be arriving in the future. It's also up to the front office to put the next manager in position to develop a winning culture.

The goal at the outset of the season was for Cincinnati to turn the corner -- to transition from rebuild back toward contending. So far, that obviously has not happened, but that doesn't mean that it can't. Here are five reasons that things can get better for the Reds going forward:

Video: CIN@PIT: Suarez gets hit in the hand, exits game

1. Injured hitters will return
For a team that's struggling to score runs, the return of injured players Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler will be very welcomed. Interim manager Jim Riggleman should immediately benefit, because Schebler is expected to be activated from the disabled list Friday vs. the Cardinals. The 30-homer hitter from 2017 hasn't played since the season's third game on April 1, when he was hit by a pitch on the right elbow and suffered an ulnar nerve contusion.

As for Suarez, he is making fast progress from a fractured right thumb that put him on the DL on April 9. A clubhouse leader who hit 26 homers last season and plays strong defense at third base, he should be back in early May. The combo at third base of Cliff Pennington, Phil Gosselin and Alex Blandino hasn't produced offensively or defensively. Suarez has in the past and likely will again once healthy.

Video: CIN@MIL: Votto drills an RBI double to center field

2. Joey Votto will hit
Votto, the team's best player, was batting .158 through five games, but he has slowly started to pick up the pace. Slow starts are nothing new for him. As recently as 2016, Votto batted .213 over the first two months. In the second half of that season, he batted .408 and finished with 29 home runs.

Votto's career numbers of .313/.427/.537 indicate he will eventually find his usual high level as the lineup's toughest out. That's no small thing -- this is one of the very best hitters in the National League.

3. The leadoff spot will get settled
Price started waning on using Billy Hamilton as his leadoff hitter, sometimes batting him ninth. Hamilton has a .284 on-base percentage this season (.297 lifetime), while Jesse Winker has a .407 OBP in 2018. Winker has led off in nine of the 18 games. It's time to make the change, full time, to Winker, to create chances for Suarez, Votto, Adam Duvall, Scooter Gennett and others.

4. Senzel will be up, eventually
In an interview with MLB.com on Monday, general manager Dick Williams indicated that the club was in no rush to promote top prospect Nick Senzel. Williams wanted the callup of Senzel to "be more dictated by his performance and confidence as opposed to being dictated by the situation here." At the moment, the 22-year-old is batting .233 for Triple-A Louisville.

But Senzel has hit well in his past few games, and he showed no signs of being overwhelmed during Spring Training in his first big league camp. If Senzel heats up, and the Reds open an infield spot for him, he could provide a boost without expectations to be a main guy. He's been playing second base and third base for Louisville after trying shortstop in camp.

Video: CIN@MIL: DeSclafani strikes out Santana looking

5. The pitching can only improve
Cincinnati's pitchers are last in the NL with a 5.42 ERA. It might be a lot to expect Anthony DeSclafani to be a steadying presence for the rotation, because he hasn't had a healthy season since 2015. But he's due back from his latest injury -- a strained left oblique -- at the end of May, and his consistency and experience would be a boost. When healthy, DeSclafani has been good (9-5, 3.28 ERA in 20 starts in 2016).

The rotation has gotten good performances in the past four games. In the cases of Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano this week, one bad pitch to the Brewers' Eric Thames cost the team the game. Waiting in the wings is Amir Garrett, who has spun 9 1/3 scoreless innings in the bullpen.

As for the Reds' bullpen, it's turned things around after a horrendous beginning. Yovani Gallardo and others have been jettisoned. Over the past six games, Cincy's relievers have a 0.48 ERA. Rehabbing Michael Lorenzen (strained teres major) isn't due to get on a mound until the end of April, and it could likely be another month before he's activated, but he'll help when he arrives.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Scott Schebler, Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto, Jesse Winker

Here are some candidates to be Reds skipper

MLB.com @m_sheldon

After the Reds dismissed manager Bryan Price and installed Jim Riggleman as his interim replacement on Thursday, they appeared in no rush to immediately hire a new full-time skipper.

"It's premature to set a timetable on that," Reds general manager Dick Williams said. "But the point is we will be doing a thorough and exhaustive search process to identify the full-time manager. We have good internal candidates, but it will be a process we will undergo. It makes more sense to do that towards the end of the season because any external candidates, for the most part, are not going to be available until then."

After the Reds dismissed manager Bryan Price and installed Jim Riggleman as his interim replacement on Thursday, they appeared in no rush to immediately hire a new full-time skipper.

"It's premature to set a timetable on that," Reds general manager Dick Williams said. "But the point is we will be doing a thorough and exhaustive search process to identify the full-time manager. We have good internal candidates, but it will be a process we will undergo. It makes more sense to do that towards the end of the season because any external candidates, for the most part, are not going to be available until then."

Internally, Cincinnati could look to special assistant to the GM and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. John Farrell, most recently the manager of the Red Sox, was hired in March as a scout. Third-base coach Billy Hatcher has expressed a desire to manage in the past.

Reds dismiss Price; Riggleman named interim

Currently available outside the organization are former Yankees manager Joe Girardi and ex-Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus. There are also numerous former managers who currently work as coaches for other clubs, such as Fredi Gonzalez of the Marlins and Manny Acta of the Mariners.

The choice of Reds fans would seem to be Larkin, a Cincinnati native and shortstop for the club during his entire 19-season career from 1986-2004. After working as a television analyst for several years, Larkin returned to the organization in 2015 and works as a roving Minor League instructor.

However, Larkin has no Major League or Minor League managerial experience. He did manage Brazil in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, winning a qualifying round before going 0-3 in the tournament.

Farrell, who won a World Series with Boston in 2013, was hired by the Reds to provide an external scouting eye on the club's own players and others around the league. When his addition was announced, there was no indication that he could be a manager-in-waiting behind Price.

Ausmus, who currently works in the Angels' front office, managed the Tigers from 2014-17 and won an American League Central title his first season. He is considered to be a more analytical-minded manager, which would fit the trend among front offices around the Major Leagues.

Girardi did a lot of winning with the Yankees from 2008-17, including the '09 World Series title. But his end with the club came amid reports that he had struggled to connect with a younger clubhouse. Cincinnati has one of the youngest clubhouses in baseball, with only a few players over the age of 30.

Video: Williams on replacing Price, Riggleman on taking over

Then there is Riggleman, who has been in this position before as an interim three times in his career. The 65-year-old has managed for all or parts of 12 Major League seasons for the Padres, Cubs, Mariners and Nationals.

"It's not the circumstances that anybody wants to get the job under," Riggleman said. "Bryan Price is a great man, and a great friend. I'm concerned about Bryan. The opportunity to manage, it's something that I love to do. I've always taken on that challenge with various clubs. It's a passion for me. I look forward to it. But this is not the circumstances you want it to happen."

Riggleman resigned from Washington amid a contract dispute during the 2011 season. He joined the Reds organization in '12, first as manager at Double-A Pensacola and then Triple-A Louisville in '13-14.

Riggleman returned to the Majors in 2015 to be Price's third-base coach, then moved over to bench coach, where he had served since '16.

For the time being, Riggleman will be tasked with getting Cincinnati back on track following a 3-15 start to this season.

"I think just try to see if we can win some ballgames, it's as simple as that," Riggleman said. "I will just try to stress the details of the game, which was what Bryan was trying to do. We've just got to find a way with the coaches, and myself, to really put an exclamation point on the details of the game. The hitting and the pitching are the two biggest areas of the game, they have to take care of themselves. But we as coaches and the manager can really try to pick up a win here or there with maybe some things we stress pregame that will hopefully carry into the game and help us win a few."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds

Reds dismiss Price; Riggleman named interim

Darwin, Kelly join coaching staff as team focuses on basics after poor start