Blame David Bell if it makes you feel better, but he made the right move

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell.
Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

We're all upset, Reds fans. After a stunning collapse in the ninth inning at the hands of the reigning National League Champions, it's normal to be frustrated. But let's just be sure the frustration is pointed in the right direction.

For some strange reason, David Bell is catching a lot of heat for Saturday's loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cincinnati Reds manager made the decision to bring in closer Alexis Diaz in the eighth inning and leave him to start the ninth.

The move backfired, however, after Diaz shrunk in the moment. The Reds, who were nursing a two-run lead heading into the ninth, lost by a final of 3-2.

Stop blaming David Bell for the Reds collapse in the 9th inning.

If you don't like David Bell, have never been a David Bell fan, or think David Bell the worst manager in baseball, that's fine. You're entitled to your opinion. But can we all agree that it was the correct decision to bring in Alexis Diaz in the eighth inning? Furthermore, can we also agree that it was the correct decision to bring him back out for the ninth inning?

Bell called on Diaz to face the Philadelphia Phillies three best hitters - Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, and JT Realmuto in the eighth. Diaz dispatched of the Phillies' trio with relative ease and was sitting on 14 pitches after retiring Turner, Schwarber, and Realmuto.

After the Cincinnati Reds pushed across another run in the top of the ninth, Diaz was given a two-run lead to protect; he didn't do it. Diaz walked Nick Castellanos on seven pitches. A wild pitch saw Castellanos advance to second base and Alec Bohm singled to put runners on the corners with no outs.

Obviously, some Reds fans want to make the argument that Bell should have made the move to another reliever at this point. That's a fair, but after seeing Diaz dominate in the eighth, would you really expect to see him fold like a cheap tent in the ninth. No one was warming in the bullpen until after Castellanos reached.

Furthermore, who are you going to turn to? Ian Gibaut? Reiver Sanmartin? Alex Young? This Reds bullpen is shaky at best, and Diaz is easily the best pitcher of the bunch. It just so happened that he lost his edge in the ninth inning and was saddled with the loss. Diaz was finally removed after the Phillies closed the gap to one run, and Gibaut allowed the winning run to score later in the ninth.

Blame David Bell if it makes you feel better, but he's not even close to the biggest problem. There was no investment in the bullpen this season, which is why Bell must lean so hard on his young starters to go deep into games. Watching Nick Lodolo lose after spinning a gem was so heartbreaking, but that won't be the last time Reds fans leave a game frustrated at the bullpen this season.

The hope, as the season progresses, is that pitchers like Ricky Karcher, Casey Legumina, and others are able to find success once they make the leap to the big leagues.

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