Cincinnati Reds: Three takeaways from rain-shortened series vs Cubs

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 29: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 29: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds
CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 26: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

2. The Reds bullpen is a serious cause for concern.

If there ever was a time for David Bell to go against his own instincts and let Luis Castillo or Trevor Bauer pitch a complete game, it will be during the upcoming series with the Detroit Tigers. The Reds bullpen could use yesterday’s rainout and a few more days to figure out how to right the ship, because after six games, iceberg straight ahead.

The bullpen hasn’t completely crashed yet, but they are getting extremely close. If they do, the Reds season will be all but sunk. Through two series, the Reds bullpen is getting shelled. In Wednesday’s 12-7 win over the Cubs, the lone bright spot in an otherwise forgettable series, the Reds bullpen gave up five earned runs.

Brooks Raley, who didn’t record an out after relieving starter Sonny Gray, watched his season ERA balloon to 12.00 after giving up three runs. Cody Reed didn’t fare much better during mop-up duty in the ninth inning. Reed gave up two runs, making the game much closer than it should have been. His ERA now stands at 18.00. Ouch!

In Tuesday’s 8-5 loss, starter Tyler Mahle left the game after the fourth inning in a 2-2 tie. The bullpen crew of Cody Reed, Amir Garrett, Nate Jones and Michael Lorenzen gave up six runs, at least one run in each inning from the fifth through the ninth. Of those six runs, four came on home runs. The only Cincinnati reliever that didn’t give up a run in that game was Pedro Strop.

On the season, the bullpen has given up nine home runs. In comparison, Reds starters have given up two long balls. The worst offender in the Reds bullpen has been Michael Lorenzen. He gave up three homers, twice giving up a two-run shots in the ninth inning. Of the 10 relievers on the roster, five have an ERA above 10.00. Only Strop and Lucas Sims have yet to give up a run this season.

This all amounts to a huge issue for the Reds this season. Especially considering David Bell likes to go to his bullpen early and often. It’s up to pitching coach Derek Johnson to fix whatever ails the bullpen and fast. If he can’t figure it out, the Reds 2020 season is in serious trouble.