Reds try to salvage season after dumping Price as manager

Bench coach Jim Riggleman of the Cincinnati Reds watches from the dugout during the third inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 9, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona

Chicago (AFP) – Having dropped 15 of their first 18 games this season, the Cincinnati Reds will try to salvage their Major League Baseball campaign with a new manager and sense of urgency.

After losing 10 of their past 11 games for their worst start since 1931, the Reds fired manager Bryan Price and installed bench coach Jim Riggleman as interim manager starting with Friday’s game in St. Louis.

“I think we’re going to hit the ground running,” Reds general manager Dick Williams said. “We’re very focused on creating a sense of urgency for these guys to perform now.

“When guys show up for work every day, they need to have a sense of urgency to win that day. They need to take care of the details on the field. They need to play hard. They need to play the game smart. They need to play it right. That, we can control.”

With the worst record in the major leagues, the Reds are already 8 1/2 games behind pace-setting Pittsburgh in the National League Central division.

“This is an organizational disappointment and nobody here feels that Bryan… is a scapegoat for what happened,” Williams said. “It’s just that’s the first step in the process of making this right and trying our best to fix things.”

Price, 55, joined the Reds as pitching coach before the 2010 season and was promoted to manager in 2014 to replace Dusty Baker, going 279-387 as manager.

The Reds have not made the playoffs since 2013 and have not won a playoff series since 1995. They escaped the first round for their only series win since sweeping Oakland in the 1990 World Series.

“Just try to see if we can win some ball games, it’s as simple as that,” Riggleman said. “I will just try to stress the details of the game. Maybe some things we stress pregame will hopefully carry into the game and help us win a few.”

The Reds, whose minus-46 run differential was the worst in the major leagues, had a starting pitcher rotation with the fewest innings pitched and the highest earned-run average in the National League last season.

“We felt like we had to act now and we couldn’t afford to wait,” Williams said.

“It is early in the regular season. But we’ve been thinking about the 2018 season since the day the 2017 season ended and we had all off-season to prepare. We’ve had a lot of chances to observe this group together and to see them get off to the kind of start we had hoped and it’s not there.”