Cincinnati Reds: After rocky start, Raisel Iglesias is on track in August

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 08: Raisel Iglesias #26 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the ninth inning (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 08: Raisel Iglesias #26 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the ninth inning (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Reds closer Raisel Iglesias has been red hot since August began.

Since the calendar flipped to August, Raisel Iglesias seems like a new pitcher. After being rocked in his first two games this season, the Cincinnati Reds closer has found his groove. This is the version of Iglesias the Reds front office paid for when his contract was renegotiated in the fall of 2018.

Iglesias signed a three-year/$24M deal with the Reds in November of 2018. The deal seemed odd at the time, as Iggy had originally signed a multi-year deal with Cincinnati. However, Iglesias’ contract allowed for the right-hander to enter arbitration over the final three years of the deal. Rather than go through the process, the two sides came to an agreement.

Of course, Iglesias was coming off a fantastic 2018 season in which he was the obvious leader of the Reds bullpen. Iggy appeared in 66 games, owned a 2.38 ERA, racked up a career-best 30 saves and looked to be one of the most dominant relievers in the game.

But the wheels came off last season when Iglesias set the team record for a relief pitcher with 12 losses. The right-hander’s ERA ballooned to 4.16, and even though he recorded a career-high 34 saves, Iggy was surpassed by Michael Lorenzen and Amir Garrett as the best pitcher in the Reds bullpen.

This season, however, the Cincinnati Reds relief corps is seeking a leader and may have found it in Iglesias. It’s also possible that David Bell has finally abandoned his idea of pitching Raisel Iglesias outside of a save opportunity, an idea that caused some consternation between the Reds skipper and his closer last season.

Since August began, Raisel Iglesias has been the Reds best reliever.

Whatever the case may be, Iglesias has been on fire over the past three games in which he’s pitched. The Reds closer recorded his 100th career save last night, slamming the door against the best the Milwaukee Brewers had to offer.

Iglesias sat down Keston Hiura on four pitches, former MVP Christian Yelich grounded out to second base and Iggy punched out the red-hot Logan Morrison with three straight swinging strikes. Good morning, good afternoon and good night!

Over the past four games, Iggy has been lights out. After having surrendered five hits and four runs in his first two outings, Iglesias entered the month of August with a 13.50 ERA. Iglesias has gone 3.1 innings, struck out six batters and hasn’t allowed a single hit in three appearances.

With the Cincinnati Reds bullpen receiving shaky performances thus far from Michael Lorenzen, José De León and Cody Reed, Iglesias needs to continue on his upward trajectory. Robert Stephenson has already hit the injured list and it appears as though Pedro Strop isn’t far behind.

Cincinnati needs some reliable arms in the bullpen. Lucas Sims has provided a nice lift and Nate Jones has been solid but not spectacular. Joel Kuhnel was just added to the active roster yesterday in place of De León who struggled mightily in his second inning of work on Thursday against the Cleveland Indians.

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Hopefully the first week of August is just the beginning of a bounce-back season for Raisel Iglesias. With only 60 games in the 2020 season, the Cincinnati Reds need Iggy to be right if this team has any hope of contending for a division crown.