Cincinnati Reds: Is Alfredo Simon On The Way Out?
The Cincinnati Reds blew a golden opportunity. Once again the pitching of Alfredo Simon was the Reds’ undoing. The St. Louis Cardinals smashed the Redlegs by a final score of 12-7. The Cards tied the three-game series at one game a piece.
Simon was brought back to give support and direction to the Reds’ young arms. So far, that hasn’t happened. The Redbirds pounded Simon during his five innings of work. St.Louis knocked him around for six earned runs, seven hits, five walks, and two homers. The Reds have yet to see him pitch to the ability the staff needs.
Cincinnati undoubtedly has pitching woes. It goes from the starting rotation, to the constantly changing bullpen. The Reds have been depending on Simon to help with the maturation of the youngsters. But, at the rate he’s going, they may not get that inspiration this season.
Manager Bryan Price is being patient. He’s in a rebuilding year. At the same time, he’s expected to win. The pressure is mounting and he can only give Simon so many breaks.
“We’ve got to have pressure with some guys performing at Triple-A in order to bring them up,” a frustrated Price tried to explain, via Cincinnati Reds. “The reason Freddie’s had so much rope is he was with us for three years and had terrific numbers and always wanted to pitch. He just hasn’t gotten on to a roll and it’s been a battle for him really since the inception of the season.”
Price is referring to the Reds’ top pitching prospects Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed. The way the rotation is performing, they may get the call sooner than expected. It’s better to let the golden boys learn at the Triple-A level. But, when an entire rotation is getting sent to the cleaners on a daily basis, it may be time to call in reinforcements.
How bad is Simon? After the Cards gave him another beat down, his ERA ballooned to a hefty 9.11. That damage has been done through 12 games.
Simon walked the first two batters he faced and then promptly surrendered a dinger to Matt Adams. The Reds were quickly down 3-0, with nobody out. Catcher Tucker Barnhart had an excellent view of the situation. He admits that Simon could have given up, after the bad start. But, he tried to give it his best shot.
“He was a little off. When you give up a three-run home run in the first inning, it’s kind of tough to see the bigger picture as far as how he pitched,” Barnhart offered.
“I think, when you give up a three-run home run in the first inning without getting an out, it’s easy to maybe pack it in a little bit. I don’t think he did that at all. He gave us what he had. It wasn’t obviously his best stuff and I’m sure he would tell you that, but he kept us in the ballgame to be honest with you.”
Simon isn’t the sole reason Cincinnati is suffering. Yet, his performance is going to be scrutinized more than the other pitchers. Reds brass signed Simon to a $2 million contract. Over 12 games and 11 starts, the investment doesn’t look like a wise one.
Fans are getting restless. The year is quickly turning into the rebuilding nightmare that was predicted by analysts. The Reds’ bats are coming to life. Joey Votto is coming around, Adam Duvall is on a wicked tear, and Jay Bruce is showing some pop. If the pitching staff gets on track, there could be an outside chance the Reds turn the season around. It has to start now.
Price has given a hint, per the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“To really hit on all cylinders we’ve got to get good starts out of the entire five. Maybe an influx of some of our young starters will help with that.”
Simon may be at the end of his rope.
[Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images]