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Reds in last place despite positive run differential

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The Reds salvaged their three-game series in Oakland, winning Thursday afternoon’s game 3-0. The first two games didn’t go well, as Mike Fiers no-hit them on Tuesday and they suffered their fourth walk-off loss of the season on Wednesday. Despite a +23 run differential, the 16-22 Reds are in last place in the NL Central.

There are just seven teams with a better run differential than the Reds: the Rays (+59), Cubs (+57), Dodgers (+51), Astros (+47), Twins (+44), Yankees (+32), and Phillies (+31). They are all first- or second-place teams. The Reds’ Pythagorean record — their expected record based on run differential — is 22-16, a five-game difference.

It’s been a brutal week and a half in particular for the Reds. On April 30, the Reds came back to tie the Mets at 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning only to suffer a walk-off loss on a Pete Alonso sacrifice fly. Exactly one week ago, Noah Syndergaard single-handedly beat them 1-0 with a home run and nine shutout innings. The next day, the Reds lost a 12-11, 11-inning slugfest with the Giants, as Evan Longoria struck the decisive blow with a solo homer. The Reds again fell apart late on Sunday against the Giants, surrendering a tie-breaking two-run home run to Brandon Crawford in the top of the ninth. Following that loss, closer Raisel Iglesias blamed the way the Reds were using him for his struggles. Then there was Tuesday’s no-no and Wednesday’s walk-off loss against the A’s.

Fortunately for the Reds, it’s a long season. They will, at some point, have a stretch of good luck. And they’re a better team than many people gave them credit for being at the beginning of the season.

Red Sox place Chris Sale on 10-day injured list

Chris Sale
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Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.

Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.