2. The Reds bullpen will receive a lot of blame following the loss, but doesn't deserve most of it.
Instead of blaming one individual reliever over another, we're going to lump the entire Cincinnati Reds bullpen together. Saturday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates may have been the relief corp's worst performance of the season, and it couldn't have come at a worse time.
The box score will show that Connor Phillips allowed three earned runs, and technically that's true. But only one run crossed the plate when Phillips was on the mound. The rookie left the hill with a 9-1 in the top of the sixth inning and his book was still open after allowing back-to-back singles.
Collectively, the Reds bullpen allowed 12 runs to dent the plate over four innings with 10 of them being earned. Alex Young surrendered three, as did Fernando Cruz. Alexis Diaz was called upon in the eighth inning to get a stop, and failed to do so. The Reds closer was tagged with four earned runs.
Lucas Sims was put in a near impossible situation in the seventh inning. After Cruz had loaded the bases with no outs, David Bell called upon the veteran reliever to stop the bleeding. Instead, Sims allowed a bases-clearing double that knotted the score at nine runs apiece.
The only reliever who was able to get the job done was Ian Gibaut. After struggling in Friday's game having allowed two runs on three hits, the right-hander returned in the ninth inning to shut the Pirates' bats down.
So while many fans will want to blame the bullpen for Saturday's loss, let's not forget how many times the Reds relievers have bailed out struggling starters or a scuffling offense this season. If you want the truth, these last three losses have proven one thing - the Reds bullpen is flat-out exhausted.
That's not an excuse, but it's the facts. Cincinnati's bullpen has logged 622 innings this season. That's the sixth-most in the majors. Furthermore, the Reds have three pitchers among the Top 10 in the league in terms of appearances.
The Cincinnati Reds bullpen deserves to take some heat for Saturday's loss - you can't give up 10 runs in four innings and walk away blameless. But Alexis Diaz, Buck Farmer, Ian Gibaut, and Lucas Sims have not landed on the IL once this season and all four have hit a career-high in appearances and innings pitched.