Major League Baseball added eight games to the already lengthy schedules of all teams for the 1962 season, meaning that all twenty franchises played 162 regular season contests that year for the very first time. And in the 53 renditions since that season expansion, only once have the Cincinnati Reds won fewer games than the 63 they've claimed so far in 2015.
The 101 losses suffered by the 1982 Reds stand as the lone time in the franchise's 134 years that they've had triple-digit losses in a single season, and their 61 victories stake claim as the fewest ever in a 162 game season. Not a single player on that squad hit more than 17 homers (Dan Driessen) or knocked in more than 57 runs (Driessen, Cesar Cedeno), and Johnny Bench caught just a single game while spending over a hundred as a makeshift 3B. Were it not for the magnificent exploits of Mario Soto on the mound (132 ERA+ in 257.2 innings), the Reds may well have lost their way past the Minnesota Twins - who finished 60-102 - and into the #1 pick in the 1983 MLB Draft, a spot higher than they've ever selected before.
They played terrible, horrible, no good, very bad baseball in 1982. That they serve as a reference point for the 2015 Reds shows you just how terrible, horrible, no good, very bad the baseball you've watched on FS-Ohio this season has been.
The reasons behind the Reds frustrating season are obvious and far from inexplicable. Homer Bailey and Devin Mesoraco have been shelved since nearly day one, and the club shed veteran pitchers Mat Latos, Alfredo Simon, Johnny Cueto, and Mike Leake since the end of the 2014 season. They've rolled out rookie starter after rookie starter in a division that is sending three teams to the postseason, they've underperformed relative to what their pythagorean record suggests, and they've had no good luck in going 18-29 in one-run games.
Seven games still remain on the schedule, so there's still a chance that they tack on a few wins and approach the end results of, say, the 2001 Reds and their 66-96 record. But with the final six games against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs (both of whom are postseason bound and jockeying for position), it's hard to fathom any scenario where the Reds - currently riding their third losing streak of at least eight games this season - lay claim to anything other than their second worst record in the last 53 years.
If the trades that sent away so much of the core of the ninety win teams of the recent past wasn't enough to signal that a new Reds era was underway, perhaps framing the present futility is. They'll get better eventually, and they've largely made moves that were the right ones to help them get there sooner than later.
But there's no way to ignore the obvious that has been playing out nearly every day of the 2015 season, and the bottom line is there for all to see. The Reds? They stink.