Latest injury update brings added concern Reds' bullpen struggles

This is less than ideal.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ian Gibaut
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ian Gibaut / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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The injury bug has bitten about every single team throughout Major League Baseball this season, but the Cincinnati Reds are dealing with some significant injuries to some of their top players. Matt McLain and TJ Friedl both began the season on the IL, and while there's hope that Friedl will return next month, McLain may not return until after the All-Star break, if at all.

But the Reds' bullpen has been ravaged by injuries at the outset. Alex Young and Sam Moll began the season on the IL, but the Reds have also been without their most durable reliever from last season. Ian Gibaut has yet to take the mound during a major league game this season, and it now sounds as if the right-hander's return to the Reds will be delayed.

There was hope that Gibaut was going to return from a rehab assignment later this week, but according to MLB.com, the reliever has experienced a setback and will be reevaluated. Gibaut's rehab assignment began at High-A Dayton before he was transferred to the Louisville Bats roster last week. Gibaut was scheduled to appear in back-to-back games this week, but didn't take the mound on Wednesday.

Latest injury update brings added concern Reds' bullpen struggles

This is the latest blow to a Reds bullpen that has already lost Tejay Antone for the year. Without Gibaut, Moll, Young, and Antone, the Reds relief corps has been struggling. Cincinnati's bullpen ranks 10th in ERA in the National League, and one of the Reds biggest issues this season has been walks. The Reds bullpen has issued 35 free passes which is the fourth-highest in the NL.

Coming into the 2024 season, the Reds bullpen was viewed as a strength. With Alexis Diaz, Lucas Sims, and Fernando Cruz locking down the eighth and ninth innings, manager David Bell was supposed to feel good if he entered the latter part of a game with the lead (smoething the Reds were unable to do in Seattle). During the early-going, that theory has been tested.

When games are close late, the Reds have the highest WHIP (1.76) among National League teams. In those seven games, Cincinnati has allowed opponents to hit .267. Diaz and Sims have both had their struggles with walks of late, including the four walks that were issued on Wednesday in Seattle. Diaz and Sims have walked a combined 11 batters 12.1 innings this season.

The addition of Nick Martinez to the Reds bullpen will hopefully help to calm the waters, and it also gives Cincinnati the added benefit of a pitcher who can go multiple innings should one of the team's starters struggle. Hopefully Gibaut's setback is nothing serious. The Reds need their relief corps to get healthy in a hurry.

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