After tough '22, excitement building for Reds' future

October 6th, 2022

CINCINNATI -- Rookie right-hander wanted his season, and his team's, to end any way other than it did on Wednesday afternoon. The Reds concluded 2022 with a 15-2 loss to the Cubs at Great American Ball Park for their 100th loss of the regular season.

"It sucks to finish that way, of course, but I go back and look at the season I’ve had. It’s been pretty well. I’m really happy with how it went," Ashcraft said.

After losing 20 of their final 26 games, the Reds completed their season with a 62-100 record -- just the second time in franchise history that the team has finished with 100 losses. The other time it happened was during a 101-loss season in 1982.

"[Going] 62-100 isn’t what you want, especially starting in Spring Training and knowing the pitching staff we had. But it’s over now," third baseman said. "We've got to look forward to next year. We’re going to go home and reflect on some things and hopefully get better."

Ashcraft allowed seven runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings, with a season-high five walks (one intentional) and four strikeouts. He and the club were doomed by a six-run top of the sixth inning that put the game out of reach.

Chicago took a 3-0 lead in the second inning, when, after Ashcraft issued back-to-back walks, David Bote lifted a three-run homer to right field with two outs. Everything came apart in the sixth inning, with Ashcraft walking in a run with the bases loaded and one out. Derek Law went on to give up Bote's two-run double and a three-run homer by Zach McKinstry.

Following his 32-day stint on the injured list with right biceps soreness, Ashcraft and the Reds both hoped he would put together a solid stretch to reach the finish line of the season. But after a promising first 16 starts, the 24-year-old was 0-3 with a 12.00 ERA in three starts after being activated.

That gave Ashcraft a 5-6 record and a 4.89 ERA in 19 starts overall.

"Today’s results don’t change a thing about Graham’s season or his finish to the season," Reds manager David Bell said.

No matter how many losses the Reds finished with, their 2022 season will most likely be remembered for how many losses the club started with. Following an ownership-mandated roster teardown and budget trim started during Spring Training, Cincinnati opened the season with a franchise-worst 3-22 record through 25 games. That put the team in a hole it could never fully come back from -- despite a 41-41 record in the 82 games from May 7-Aug. 7.

The second part of the selloff around the Aug. 2 Trade Deadline saw top-of-the-rotation starters Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle and leading home run hitter Brandon Drury depart.

“It’s been a tough year for all of us," said second baseman , who was scratched with a sore left foot just before the game. "There’s been a lot of highlights to the season. We played stronger after the 3-22. Then we lost guys at the break. It’s just baseball, the business side. It’s hard, but we’ll come back, prepare for next year and play hard.”

A season-long rash of injuries also crushed the active roster and led to some unique developments.

  • The Reds had 66 players play at least one game, which was the second most in MLB and broke the 2003 franchise record of 57 players.
  • A team-record 38 pitchers were used, including three position players who took the mound. 17 pitchers made at least one start.
  • There were 37 players who made a combined 57 appearances on the injured list. Over two periods, a season-high 18 players were simultaneously on the IL. No player was missed more than top hitter and catcher , who broke his right clavicle when hit by a foul ball on July 22.

"A lot of guys were hurt that we were counting on," Farmer said. "Can’t really plan for that. Injuries were the toughest part."

Multiple key players -- like , and -- also underperformed, further adding to the Reds’ struggles. Painful seasons come part and parcel with rebuilds, with the hope that contending will follow. With three rookie starters -- Ashcraft, and -- among those who made big development leaps, the journey toward 2023 begins quickly.

"A lot of things to take into the offseason. Guys are already talking about Spring Training more than any team I've been a part of,” Bell said. “They can’t wait.”