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Know Your Enemy: Cincinnati Reds

The Reds were bad last year. Not much has changed.

The Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — You will recall, I’m sure, that the Cubs were 15-4 against the Reds in 2016, outscoring them 143-69 and winning games 16-0, 10-4 and 11-8.

They also set a team record by hitting 42 home runs against them in 19 games, the most any Cubs team hit against a single opponent in a single season. (The previous record, 37, had been accomplished against the Cardinals, in 1955 — in three more games!)

Beyond that, Reds pitchers set a major-league record by allowing 258 home runs. That shattered the previous record, 241, set by the 1996 Tigers.

And to all of this the Reds did... not much. They have signed Scott Feldman (hi, old friend who brought us Jake Arrieta!) to be in their pitching rotation. Their depth chart lists him as No. 3, which should tell you about all you need to know about the Reds rotation.

If Feldman does anything good for them in the first half, he will undoubtedly be traded to a contender at or near the deadline.

The Reds had hoped to have Homer Bailey back, but he has already been placed on the 60-day DL.

Raisel Iglesias will likely close, and he did reasonably well at that after being given the job, but the Reds just aren’t likely to have all that many save situations. They had just 28 saves in 2016. Only the Twins (26) had fewer.

The Reds offense will be much the same, minus the traded Brandon Phillips. Joey Votto is excellent, but the rest... meh. Adam Duvall hits home runs and strikes out a lot and isn’t really young (now 28). The Reds will be giving extended looks to guys like Eugenio Suarez, Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera (the latter acquired from the Mets in the Jay Bruce deal) to see if they are any good. One of them might be.

Devin Mesoraco could help the Reds offense if he’s healthy, but he hasn’t played more than 23 games in a big-league season since 2014.

You see the problem here, I suspect. It’s exacerbated by baseball’s worst manager, Bryan Price, who seems utterly clueless. He was a pretty good pitching coach for them, but he seems totally unqualified to be manager. I have to believe this is his last year at the helm. On the other hand, I thought that the last two years, and he’s still there, which might reflect incompetence in upper management in Cincinnati.

The Reds lost 98 games in 2015 and 94 in 2016. That’s not really “improvement,” it’s just random fluctuation. I would be shocked if they didn’t lose 90+ again this year.

Cubs vs. Reds in 2017:

April 21-22-23 at Cincinnati
May 16-17-18 at Wrigley
June 30, July 1-2 at Cincinnati
August 14-15-16 at Wrigley
August 22-23-24 at Cincinnati
September 29-30, October 1 at Wrigley