Reds reliever Amir Garrett needs the ball late in games.
The Cincinnati Reds bullpen has not lived up to expectations thus far in the 2020 season. Multiple relievers have ERA’s over 10.00, while Nate Jones, Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen and Cody Reed have accounted for four of the Reds nine losses. If Cincinnati is serious about making the playoffs, Amir Garrett needs to be the guy who is called upon when the game hangs in the balance.
Garrett has been the only bright spot in the Reds bullpen this year. The left-hander continues to improve after striking out 78 batters in 56 innings over 69 games last season. Garrett’s ERA continues go down while his strikeout numbers go up. Garrett is only getting better, and this year he seems to be trending the same way.
With what seems like the rest of the bullpen struggling in 2020, Garrett has shined when given the opportunity. He has 9 punch outs over 5.2 innings and a sub-2.00 ERA. The only reason his ERA is that high is due to the lone hit he’s surrendered being a round tripper. Garrett is the best reliever in the Reds bullpen and it’s time for David Bell to use him when the game is on the line.
Garrett is tied for second in appearances this year with six. Garrett’s getting an equal share of reps, but in a year where the season has been trimmed to just 60 games, it is not the best time for Bell to give every pitcher a piece of the pie.
Lorenzen, who pitched well in 2019, has not done so at all this year and doesn’t need to be in high-pressure situations until he gains some confidence. Iglesias seems to be figuring it out, but has been wildly inconsistent during the David Bell era. Those two, paired with Garrett, were supposed to be the Reds three-headed monster out of the pen.
Amir Garrett must be the one coming out of the bullpen in tight games for the remainder of the season. There are fewer than 40 games remaining and the likelihood of every one of those being close are slim.
None the less, Garrett needs to get the call if later in the game if the score is close. Garrett carries a level of confidence that few possess and a pitching repertoire, featuring a wipeout slider, that could get anybody out. In a season like this, Cincinnati has to go with who’s hot while they’re hot, and right now that guy is Amir Garrett.
The Reds can keep bringing guys out of the pen who are struggling and hope that they overcome their slump, or they can just roll with the hot hand as long as he’s producing. Garrett gives the Reds the best chance to stay in the game or hold a lead right now. There’s not much baseball left to play, and while Garrett is just one option, it seems like the best option right now.