Cincinnati Reds: Offense sputters and the bullpen falters

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 28: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds and Erik Kratz #15 of the Milwaukee Brewers exchange words during the third inning at Great American Ball Park on June 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 28: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds and Erik Kratz #15 of the Milwaukee Brewers exchange words during the third inning at Great American Ball Park on June 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds’ bats have gone silent against the Milwaukee Brewers, and the bullpen has fallen apart.

So far this season, the Cincinnati Reds have been able to count on their bullpen to get key outs when needed. Furthermore, the offense had been humming along during the Reds last 10 games, of which they’d won 9. However, of late, the bats have gone silent and the relief pitching has been woeful.

The Reds lost the Milwaukee Brewers 4-6 on Thursday and followed it up with another loss against the NL Central-leaders on Friday night. The Reds fell to the Brewers 2-8 after giving up a 5-spot in the top of the 9th inning.

So what’s going wrong with the Reds’ offense? On Thursday night against the Brewers, the Reds were 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left 7 men on base. On Friday the numbers looked much worse, as Cincinnati was only able to get 3 runners even into scoring position with only one making all the way around the diamond.

Also, some of Cincinnati’s big hitters were absent. Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett, and Adam Duvall all went hitless on Thursday against Milwaukee. Gennett went hitless again on Friday night, as did Jesse Winker who had 2 hits the night before including a home run.

So, we’ve covered the hitting, which hadn’t been great but isn’t atrocious either. The relief pitching, on the other hand, has been downright awful over the past two games.

The Cincinnati bullpen appeared to have a groove going and looked to be one of the tops in the Majors. That came to a screeching halt against the Milwaukee bats the past couple of nights.

Amir Garrett, normally one of the best arms in the Reds bullpen, surrendered a 3-run shot and the lead in the 7th inning on Thursday night. Garrett allowed only one hit, but it was a big one. Cincinnati never rallied and fell two runs short.

On Friday night, the bullpen gave up 6 earned runs and the Reds lost by, yep, 6 runs. Michael Lorenzen will receive a pass from me because the guy threw 3 innings and kept the Reds close. But, the rest of the Reds’ bullpen was not good.

Kyle Crockett, who hadn’t allowed a hit all season, allowed back-to-bat singles in the top of the 9th inning. Jackson Stephens then allowed the Brewers to play add-on, as he allowed 3 hits, 3 runs and a home run in less than an inning.

Oddly enough, the Reds’ most inconsistent performers all season, the starting pitching, has done quite well. Anthony DeSclafani and Sal Romano both had good outings against Milwaukee.

Next: Duvall is finally hitting; trade coming?

The Reds head back to the plate Saturday and Sunday to take on those same Brewers. Tyler Mahle  (Saturday) and Matt Harvey (Sunday) will toe the rubber for the remainder of the weekend with the Reds looking to end a two-game skid.