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Reds’ losing streak reaches eight in Diamondbacks loss as poor offense puts Cincinnati on verge of last place

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USATSI

The Cincinnati Reds fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks by a 5-4 final on Thursday afternoon (box score), extending their majors-worst losing streak to eight in a row. The Reds, now 16-21 on the season, are only a half-game out of last place in the National League Central.

Thursday represented progress for the Reds in one respect: it marked the first time in May, and the first time overall since the night the losing streak began on April 30, that they scored more than three runs. Even with that (relative) offensive eruption, the Reds have been outscored 17-43 during this spiral. They’ve scored one run or fewer in three of their eight consecutive losses.

Predictably, the Reds’ offense stacks up as one of the worst in baseball this season. They rank 27th in wRC+ — a park-adjusted catch-all stat hosted at FanGraphs — as well as 20th in home runs and 17th in runs scored. (The Reds, of course, are still playing half their games at a hitter’s park.) Put another way, only four of the 12 Reds players with at least 50 trips to the plate this season entered Thursday with an OPS+ of 90 or better: Spencer Steer, Elly De La Cruz, Tyler Stephenson, and Jake Fraley.

The Reds are without a few key contributors. Second baseman Matt McLain underwent shoulder surgery in March, and third baseman Noelvi Marte was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for a banned substance. The Reds also lost infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand to a broken wrist this week, though he had underperformed in 29 games to date.

Cincinnati’s offensive futility has overshadowed a quality rotation. Every member of the Reds current starting five — Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Andrew Abbott, Frankie Montas, and Graham Ashcraft — had an ERA+ of 110 or better through their first five-plus starts this season. Veteran right-hander Nick Martinez, an offseason signing, was recently shifted to the bullpen.

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