The Reds’ worst start since the Great Depression prompted a quick hook for Bryan Price.
The Reds fired their fifth-year manager on Thursday because of their 3-15 start, the first managerial change in the major leagues this season. The Reds hadn’t changed managers so early in a season since Tony Perez was fired after 44 games in 1993.
Price managed a rebuilding effort that relied on rookies more than any other team in the majors during his tenure. The Reds have lost at least 94 games in each of the last three seasons while finishing last in the NL Central.
Although the Reds have been patient with their coaching staff during the rebuild, their worst start since 1931 prompted the change.
“We felt we had to act now, we couldn’t afford to wait,” general manager Dick Williams said during a conference call. “I know it seems early to some people and it certainly is early in the regular season, but . . . we’ve had a lot of chances to observe this group together and see them get off to the start we’d hoped, and it wasn’t there.”
Bench coach Jim Riggleman will manage the team on an interim basis, the fourth time in his career he’s been promoted during a season. Riggleman also has managed the Padres, Cubs, Mariners and Nationals. He’s expected to be a candidate for the full-time job. Williams said the club will pick its next manager later in the season.
Riggleman said his focus will be “to really put an exclamation point on the details of the game.” Eight of the Reds’ losses have been by two runs or less.
Second-year pitching coach Mack Jenkins also was fired. Triple-A Louisville manager Pat Kelly will be the bench coach, and Danny Darwin was promoted from Double-A Pensacola to serve as pitching coach.
The move came during an off-day in St. Louis. The Reds are coming off back-to-back 2-0 losses in Milwaukee, the first time they were blanked in consecutive games since 2015.
Price was given the job of leading the Reds during a massive overhaul. They were 279-387 under Price, who got the job when Dusty Baker was fired after the 2013 season for failing to get beyond the first round of the playoffs.
Thirty-two Reds players have made their major league debuts in the last three seasons, the most in the majors. In the last four seasons, they’ve had a rookie start 254 of 504 games. Rookies made a club-record 110 starts in 2015, when the Reds lost 98 games.
Astros 9, Mariners 2: Charlie Morton (3-0) pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, Jose Altuve hit a three-run double and visiting Houston won despite a rare triple play by Seattle.
Evan Gattis was at the center of it in the fourth inning. With runners at first and second and no outs, Gattis hit a check-swing ground ball to third base. Kyle Seager stepped on third and threw to second base to force Carlos Correa. Gattis finished running to first but apparently believed it was the third out and turned to jog back to the dugout. Seager noticed what was happening, and Robinson Cano threw to Daniel Vogelbach, who applied the tag.
It was the 12th triple play by Seattle and first since 2015.
Tigers 13, Orioles 8: Leonys Martin hit his first big league grand slam, Jeimer Candelario had four hits and three RBIs, and host Detroit extended Baltimore’s losing streak to six.
Alex Cobb (0-2) made his second start after signing a four-year, $57-million contract in spring training and his ERA rose to 15.43. He allowed seven runs — five earned — and 10 hits in 3 1⁄3 innings.
Manny Machado had two homers and four RBIs for the Orioles, who were outhit 18-14 in the game and outscored 23-15 in the three-game sweep.
Cubs 8, Cardinals 5: Jon Lester (2-0) was dominant through six innings of two-hit ball in his 100th start with the Cubs, and Jason Heyward hit a two-run homer for host Chicago.