3. The bullpen was used early and often
Luis Castillo was cruising and then allowed a looping line drive single to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs. David Bell immediately turned to the normally reliable Jared Hughes to get the final out of the inning. Unfortunately, that decision didn’t pay off.
Hughes allowed two straight singles and aggressive base running combined with a poor decision from Jesse Winker gave way to a 2-1 Pittsburgh Pirates lead. Hughes finally induced a ground out to end the inning but the damage had been done.
Hughes gave way to Zach Duke who did his job. Duke got the final two outs of the seventh and helped keep the deficit to just one run. David Bell then brought in Raisel Iglesias in the top of the eighth inning after the Reds took a 5-2 lead. Iglesias, arguably the best arm in the Reds’ bullpen, was called upon to take care of heart of the Bucs’ order.
Iglesias did not have his best stuff and surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced. This was a problem for Iggy last year and hopefully it doesn’t plague him throughout the season. The ninth inning provided provided even more intrigue.
Iglesias came back out for the ninth and still looked rattled. After walking two of the first three batters, Iglesias was removed in favor of Amir Garrett. Garrett did his job and struck out left-hander Adam Frazier, but was pulled in favor of David Hernandez. Hernandez walked the first batter he faced on four pitches to load the bases, but won a 12-pitch battle against Corey Dickerson to grab the save and preserve a 5-3 victory for the Reds.
It’s going to be interesting to see if David Bell continues to utilize the bullpen in the same manner throughout the season. The lefty-on-lefty and righty-on-righty matchups are certainly not a foreign concept, but pulling Castillo with two outs in sixth and removing Garrett with just one more out to go definitely raised some eyebrows.