Reed 'sluggish' in shortest big league start

Rookie gives up six runs on five hits in one-plus innings

Reed 'sluggish' in shortest big league start

MILWAUKEE -- Any time rookie pitcher Cody Reed's status in the Reds rotation has been questioned after a rough performance, manager Bryan Price has steadfastly maintained that the left-hander needs to stay in the big leagues to keep learning.

Price did not offer such a direct lifeline following a 7-3 Reds loss to the Brewers on Sunday. Reed had his shortest outing among his 10 starts in the Majors, lasting one-plus innings with six earned runs, five hits, three walks, one hit batter and one strikeout. It moved his record to 0-7 with a 7.36 ERA.

"There's a lot of things that we think about," Price said. "In Cody's case, it's been a challenge for sure. We're always assessing these situations, and we'll do what we think is best for the individual and the team moving forward."

Reed's undoing began from the get-go, as he endured a 46-pitch first inning. The first two batters walked before Ryan Braun hit a two-run double. Nine would bat in the inning, with a third run coming in on a bases-loaded, two-strike pitch hitting Jake Elmore on the foot.

Braun scores on a hit-by-pitch

"I could tell when I started warming up today, just a little off, a little sluggish," Reed said. "But I've obviously still got to make pitches no matter how you feel, and I didn't really do that again. I'm just trying to get the ball again and try to do better the next time."

The sluggish feeling was reflected on the radar gun, as Reed's fastball hovered mostly at 89-91 mph and topped at 93 mph. He usually can dial his velocity up to 93-95 mph.

Reed could not count on his secondary pitches to bail him out, either. He did not record an out in the second inning and was done three batters in after Braun's mammoth three-run homer to straightaway center field on a first-pitch slider.

"It's not like I'm trying to make bad pitches," Reed said. "[I am] getting out there and competing the best I can, and I'm not giving my team a very good chance to win. Ever since I've been here, every time I go out, I'm not giving them a very good chance. It's frustrating for me. I want to win just as much as these guys do. It's tough, but you've got to keep working at it."

It was a step backwards for Reed, who worked six scoreless innings in his previous start vs. the Cardinals before the bullpen blew the lead and his chance for a first win. There was only one perfect inning thrown in that game, but it should have been a building block.

Instead, it's back to square one.

"I don't think the shape of his pitches looks similar to the way they looked in Spring Training and for a portion of his Triple-A season," Price said. "I think he's throwing a lot of same-plane pitches, meaning he doesn't have a lot of downward trajectory on any of his pitches.

"Sometimes when you can overpower, you have to really learn to pitch at this level. He's learned some valuable lessons. They've been painful, but they will serve him moving forward."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.