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Ailing Reds look to end skid at Padres

Apr 19, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado (13) throws to first base on a ground out by Cincinnati Reds second baseman Alejo Lopez (not pictured) during the sixth inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds are in trouble.

Not only have they lost eight straight games, but they are losing players.

Before Tuesday night’s 6-2 loss in San Diego, the Reds added 2021 National League Rookie of the Year Jonathan India and Mike Moustakas to their already lengthy list of players on the injured list. Then, catcher and cleanup hitter Tyler Stephenson left the field under his own power after a first-inning collision at home with the Padres’ Luke Voit.

“We’re going through a tough period,” said Reds manager David Bell. “We’ve got to find a way to score more runs. When a slump like this happens at the start of a season, it looks worse. All teams go through times like this.”

The Reds, who need a win Wednesday against the Padres to avoid an 0-7 trip, will send right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez (0-2, 5.40 ERA) to the mound against Padres rookie left-hander MacKenzie Gore (0-0, 3.38).

The Padres will seek a fourth straight win Wednesday to build a little momentum going into their first day off of the season on Thursday, followed by a three-game weekend series at home against the division-rival Dodgers.

“I don’t know how many teams have started the season with 14 straight games,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday. “I want the players to use the days off Thursday and next Monday. I’m giving (the starting pitchers) an extra day, and I’m sure they’ll be happy for it.

“The starters are doing their thing for us. We knew going into the season that the starters were going to be our strength. And by going deeper into games, they’re making it easier on the bullpen.”

Although they weren’t extended due to a short spring training, the Padres’ starting pitchers have gone at least five innings in seven straight games.

Gore will make his second major-league start Wednesday after allowing two runs on three hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings in his debut last Friday. Truth is, Gore, who started the season in Triple-A before getting the call when Blake Snell went on the injured list with an abductor strain, could be headed back to El Paso. Mike Clevinger made his second rehab start with El Paso on Tuesday.

“Gore’s stuff will play in the major leagues,” Melvin said late in spring training before sending Gore out as one of the final cuts. “He had some setbacks the last couple of years. That’s not unusual for a young pitcher. It’s how you handle the adversity. And Gore handled it well this spring.”

In the meantime, Gutierrez can’t really be held responsible for his 0-2 starts. The Reds scored one run in each of the games — Gutierrez suffering 2-1 and 3-1 losses.

Gutierrez had a 9-6 record as a rookie in 2021, with a 4.74 ERA in 22 starts. But he lost both his starts against the Padres, giving up 11 runs on 14 hits — including four homers — and seven walks in 9 1/3 innings for a 10.61 ERA.

–Field Level Media