Blowout loss hurts in NL wild card standings

The Cincinnati Reds have an advantageous schedule compared to other teams in the wild-card race, but they haven’t shown they can take advantage of it.

After dropping three consecutive series, the Reds were sunk by a six-run sixth inning in their 15-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Friday in their series opener at Great American Ball Park in front of a crowd of 19,430. There were moments where the defense was dreadful. Vladimir Gutierrez had another poor start. The bullpen couldn’t stop the bleeding.

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It was a complete clunker for a Reds team that can’t afford to lose many games against sub-.500 teams. Reds pitchers allowed 18 hits, which matched a season-high. It was bad enough where they used a position player (Max Schrock) to pitch in the ninth inning.

The Reds have lost seven of their last 10 games. They’re tied for the second wild-card spot with the San Diego Padres, pending the Padres’ game against the Houston Astros on Friday night. The St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies are within two games of the wild card.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez (53) fields a groundball in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

The Reds trailed by a run in the bottom of the fifth inning and they had two runners in scoring position with one out for the middle of the lineup. Tigers reliever Kyle Funkhouser was on the ropes, giving up a two-run homer to Jonathan India, issuing a five-pitch walk and giving up an infield single.

Funkhouser won a pair of seven-pitch battles against Joey Votto and Eugenio Suárez, ending the inning with back-to-back strikeouts. Votto hit a foul ball down the first-base line by about a foot – the difference between a one-run lead and a one-run deficit.

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