Reds vs. Tigers: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 25: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds bats runs to third base after an error in the 8th inning against the Detroit Tigers. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 25: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds bats runs to third base after an error in the 8th inning against the Detroit Tigers. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Jeff Hoffman #23 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – AUGUST 18: Jeff Hoffman #23 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

The Reds’ former starter has found a home in the bullpen.

There’s no denying the Cincinnati Reds upgraded their bullpen before the trade deadline by acquiring Luis Cessa, Mychael Givens, and Justin Wilson. But, the true unsung hero of the bullpen in recent weeks has been right-hander Jeff Hoffman.

As a starter, the numbers were not pretty. Making 11 starts, he tossed just 45 innings while issuing a staggering 30 free passes en route to a completely unmanageable 1.67 WHIP. However, a move to the bullpen has been exactly what the doctor ordered to remedy the Reds and Hoffman.

David Bell has called upon the 28-year-old New Yorker a dozen times out of the pen, and he’s been exceptional. Hurling 18 frames, he’s fanned 24 while walking only seven and producing a microscopic 1.00 ERA with an excellent 1.11 WHIP.

Hoffman looks like a completely different pitcher in a relief role as opposed to a starter. His K/9 rate rocketed from 7.8 to 12.0, while his K/BB rate has soared from 1.30 to 3.43 once he was moved to the pen.

There’s no denying that Hoffman was one of the most maligned members of this Reds team during the early part of the 2021 season, but he’s quickly proving to be one of the more valuable Redlegs down the stretch.

Prediction

Despite the struggle of the past 10 days, Baseball-Reference remains fairly confident the Reds will be playing postseason baseball, giving them a 70.4% chance of making the playoffs. But, of course, a long way towards making the postseason would be the caging of the Tigers this weekend.

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Let’s be bold. Look for the Reds to regain their footing as they sweep the three-game set from Detroit and extend their Wild Card advantage before hitting the road for a nine-game trek that includes stops against the division-rival Cubs, Cardinals, and Pirates.