Evan Longoria

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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.