Cincinnati Reds: Don’t rush to judge Amir Garrett’s early-season struggles

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Amir Garrett (50) celebrates.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Amir Garrett (50) celebrates. /

The 2021 season couldn’t have started much better for the Cincinnati Reds. Despite Sonny Gray and Michael Lorenzen missing from the Opening Day roster, the Reds have roared out of the gates to a 5-1 record. One player, however, has not lived up to the hype; left-handed pitcher Amir Garrett.

Taking one look at AG’s stat line should raise the eyebrows of even the most die-hard Reds fan. A 22.50 ERA, 3.500 WHIP, five hits allowed and two walks to go along with two long balls surrendered over just two innings of work. This is Cincinnati’s closer?

Let’s not rush to judge Amir Garrett’s early-season struggles with the Reds.

Let’s pump the brakes a little bit when it comes to the early-season struggles of Amir Garrett. Don’t forget, AG didn’t get onto the field this spring until March 20th. Garrett then dispatched nine straight batters, all via the strikeout. Garrett posted a 0.00 ERA with 10 punch outs over four innings of work.

So far, that production has not translated to the regular season. Garrett has three strikeouts thus far, but his struggles versus right-handed batters continues. Last season, Garrett shutdown lefties to the tune of a .043/.214/.043 slash line.

However, against right-handed batters, AG allowed a batting average of .231, an .803 OPS, and surrendered four home runs. He didn’t allow a single round tripper versus left-handed hitters in 2020. For his career, of the 44 home runs Garrett has allowed, 32 of them came versus right-handed batters.

Reds reliever Amir Garrett has struggled versus right-handed hitters.

AG’s first action of the 2021 season saw Brian Reynolds, a switch-hitter batting right-handed, take the Reds’ lefty deep on the third pitch of the at-bat. Garrett then allowed a hit to Colin Moran before striking out Erik Gonzalez. Garrett got a forceout of the next batter, Gregory Polanco, and after walking Jacob Stallings, Kevin Newman grounded out to end the game.

During the ninth inning of yesterday’s game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates, Garrett allowed a double to Wilmer Difo, a switch-hitter batting right-handed, walked Moran, allowed a single to the right-handed hitting Phillip Evans, and then a grand slam to Gonzalez, also a right-handed batter.

There was no need to bring in Amir Garrett during Wednesday’s series finale versus Pittsburgh with Cincinnati nursing an 11-0 lead. It wasn’t a save situation. But what better time for David Bell to experiment with his relief corps and get valuable reps for Garrett.

Next. Hot start offers hope to the Reds fanbase

Fellow reliever Lucas Sims, who’s also competing to be the Cincinnati Reds closer in 2021, got some work in yesterday as well. Sims, working in the eighth inning, dispatched the Pirates hitters in order while striking out Michael Perez and Anthony Alford. Sims has three strikeouts in two inning of work on the young season.