Sports Today: How low can it go for Cincinnati Reds?


I’m going to find other things to write about this spring and summer than the Reds losing, but their third game in Philadelphia was the type that was hard to get over right away. 

Consider this therapy. Maybe you need it, too? 

I can’t tell if the dreadfulness of the Cincinnati Reds’ first 10 games made the way they lost Wednesday night harder to take or easier. 

There are 151 games left, but writing off this season is terrifyingly tempting. 

Because what is there for these Reds to hang their hats on? 

RELATED: Senzel’s move to 3B creates more questions

We know they are going to have nights when the pitching is bad. That’s a symptom of youth that is tolerable if there is real talent there. 

Will the offense ever come around? Probably. It is going to have to carry them at times for this team to avoid another last-place finish, and so far it has been not even average. 

Can they shore up the defense? Probably not. It has already cost them a couple of games where the margin for error (literally) was very small (including last night). 

Will the manager keep crippling them late in games? There’s no reason to think he won’t. 

RELATED: What’s a manager worth, anyway?

Bryan Price didn’t throw away a routine grounder that eventually led to the winning run Tuesday night, but he did an awful lot to prevent the Reds from taking the lead in the ninth inning. 

Based on the other moves it necessitated, pinch-running for Devin Mesoraco with Alex Blandino was not worth it. 

Removing Mesoraco meant Tucker Barnhart had to come into the game at some point, and Price made the worst of that by having him bunt. 

I’m generally for bunting at appropriate times, but in this situation is was pretty unlikely to yield success, and that was pretty obvious from the start. 

Barnhart got it down to move the runners up, but all that did was give two bad hitters (Cliff Pennington and Billy Hamilton) a chance to make outs, which they did. 

To put those guys in position to predictably fail, Price took the bat out of the hands of two better hitters in Barnhart and Phil Gosselin, for whom Barnhart pinch hit. 

All those moves also left him with no position players in extra innings so a Reds pitcher had to bat not once but twice in three innings. 

That was the third night in a row Price made an obvious mistake late in a game, and the Reds of course lost all three. 

Joey Votto still backs Price, and the first baseman made some fair points in an interview with The Athletic

“I 100 percent don't think it's fair, I completely disagree with that approach all the way around,” Votto said. “I know every team is their own story, but he can't hit or pitch for us, defend for us, run the bases for us, come through for us in a big situation offensively with runners on base. That's something we've come up short on. That's our responsibility, that's always our responsibility.

But Price was definitely a negative while he was learning the ropes to start his managerial career. Then it didn’t matter what he did for a couple of years because the team was so bad, and now he appears to be hindering the last stage of the rebuild by failing to maximize his team’s chances to win when he has the opportunity. 

Along with playing psychologist when guys go into a slump, that’s pretty much the manager’s only job. 

Maybe Price is doing the first part well, but the team is still losing so it’s hard to come to that conclusion. 

If he can’t handle those two things, someone else needs to get the chance before a losing mindset engulfs this team for another year… 

  

In other news, Dayton basketball officially added another player to coach Anthony Grant’s roster with the signing of Jhery Matos. 

Grant described Matos, who comes from Monroe College, as a versatile wing who can defend and create shots for himself and others. 

The coach also identified “facilitating for other people” as something the Flyers need to improve after a disappointing first season under his watch, so that’s interesting. 

With a proven post scorer in Josh Cunningham, a budding star at point guard in Jalen Crutcher and intriguing freshman Dwayne Cohill coming in, the wing does look like the most obvious place Dayton needs help. (Plus another big man.) 

» RELATED: Matos left Dominican Republic to pursue basketball dream

Even with Trey Landers exceeding most expectations last season, more depth is important there. 

Matos also showed the ability to shoot the 3 at the juco level. 

If he can come in, lock someone down and make a couple of shots every game perhaps that can help the Flyers avoid some of those deadly lulls that hit all too often last season…

Finally: What’s up with the Ohio State quarterbacks this spring? 

Urban Meyer has been asked about that every time he has spoken to the media, and yesterday it was no different when he appeared on the Big Ten coaches spring teleconference

“All three are close,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday on a conference call featuring Big Ten coaches. “There are times you wish you’d have one guy separate, but it’s certainly not because of poor performance. It’s because all three want the job. Some decisions are going to have to be made, but right now I can’t name one.”

Sometimes stuff like this is just spin, but I tend to buy it here. 

Dwayne Haskins Jr., Joe Burrow and Tate Martell were all highly-recruited prospects, and we’ve already seen at least glimpses of what Haskins and Burrow can do in games. 

I continue to think it is Haskins’ job to lose, in no small part because that is the way Meyer handled The Great Ohio State Quarterback Battle of 2015. 

RELATED: Who are the top 10 Ohio State quarterbacks of all time?

He said he couldn’t justify sitting down Cardale Jones unless he did something to lose the job after leading the Buckeyes to the national championship the prior season. 

Haskins not only ended last season as the backup, he also led Ohio State to a win at Michigan after J.T. Barrett was injured. 

That’s a pretty good point on the resume. 

 


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