Reds’ Bullpen Strikes Again

The Cincinnati Reds blew a late lead and fell to the Cleveland Indians. The Reds’ bullpen continued to struggle, as they allowed another come-from-behind victory. They are quickly gaining a reputation as one of the worst in the Majors. The 12-inning, 8-7 meltdown has fans in an uproar. Players are searching for answers and coaches are truly stumped.

The Redlegs are in a rebuilding phase. The word “rebuild” has negativity ingrained in its core, especially when talking about sports teams. Cincinnati has a small nucleus of veterans, surrounded by potentially talented youngsters. As of their latest loss, the Reds look like a team in total disarray.

The Reds’ relievers are throwing away games at a frantic pace. The inconsistency is piling up along with the losses. The pen isn’t giving the Reds a fighting chance.

“We want to win the games we should win, period,” Reds manager Bryan Price said, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. “And if we did that, at least we’re capable of being there with Pittsburgh and St. Louis if we can put some games away. It’s maddening. As much as everyone kind of went into the season thinking ‘the Reds stink,’ I don’t think we stink. I think we’re a lot better team than what we’re seeing. It’s hard to watch it when games get away.”

Reds' Bullpen
[Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images]
Lately, that seems to be the formula. The Reds’ offense gets a lead and a quality start. The bullpen comes into play, and the game is suddenly up for grabs. When Tony Cingrani gave up the game-tying home run to Rajai Davis in the ninth, a chorus of boos could be heard raining down. Not only were the boo birds in effect, there were enough empty seats to hear laughter.

The numbers from the bullpen are numbing. Of the Reds 25 losses, 12 are directly related to the ineffectiveness of the relievers. Turning that stat around could have the Reds in contention, according to Price.

Reds faithful saw the team battle back from a 4-1 deficit. The damage started in the sixth inning. Joey Votto hit a two-run double to the wall in right-center, which scored Zack Cozart and Billy Hamilton. Suarez’s homer to right field provided go-ahead runs and made it a 6-4 game. Jay Bruce added a couple of long balls during the Reds power showcase.

All of the struggles haven’t been due to the bullpen. Quality pitching has been blown by the lack of consistent offense. There’s also the issue of starters not going deep into games. Only twice have the Reds rotation gone as far as seven frames.

Reds brass called up Jumbo Diaz and Keyvius Sampson to help quell the woes. The results were the same. Both gave up runs. Per Cincinnati Reds, the bullpen leads the Majors with 99 runs surrendered after the seventh inning. Twenty-eight of Cincinnati’s league-leading 33 homers have come at the most critical point of games.

Reds' Bullpen
[Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images]
The cards were stacked against the Reds early. Coming into the season, the pitching rotation was beset with injuries, but the rapid decline of arms is almost mind-blowing. Price was candid in his summary of the young season.

“You know what? It’s been a rough first 40.”

“It won’t be like this all season, but it’s been a rough first 40,” Price continued. “There have been some great moments and doing some neat things with some of the guys. Then there are some components that aren’t working as well. It will get better, but when you’re in it, it’s miserable and we all feel it. Guys are out there grinding it out but it hasn’t been a lot of fun.”

The fun might start when the rotation is healthy and the offense and bullpen lend support.

[Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images]