It was the Cincinnati Reds bullpen that gave the game away on Thursday night in Los Angeles, allowing six run in the eighth inning. But it was that same group of players who kept the team alive during Friday's game versus the Dodgers.
On Friday night, starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez had a clean first inning, but surrendered one run in the second, third, and fifth inning before being pulled midway through the fifth. Gutierrez allowed three runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
I think an overwhelming majority of Reds fans know that this year's bullpen is work-in-progress. The relief corps is comprised of a smattering of veterans and several rookies. Cincinnati's bullpen is also missing two of their biggest contributors from 2021 (Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims).
The Reds bullpen has incurred a lot of ups and downs in 2022.
Last night, David Bell turned to Jeff Hoffman in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and no one out. Reds Country was holding their collective breath when the former Colorado Rockies starter toed the rubber. But Hoffman handled himself well with a strikeout of Trea Turner and pair of flyo outs sandwiched around a walk.
Dauri Moreta, Alexis Diaz, and Ryan Hendrix worked the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings respectively, allowing no runs on just two hits to go along with two walks and three punch outs.
It was great to see Bell give Hendrix a chance for redemption after the wheels came off for the 27-year-old on Thursday night in LA. Hendrix allowed two runs on three hit in just two-thirds of an inning during Thursday's 9-3 loss to the Dodgers. Last night, allowed one hit and one walk while striking out Gavin Lux.
Development of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen will be crucial to how good or how bad this team performs in 2022. The hitting has lagged behind in the early-going, but that's not surprising given the delayed start to spring training.
The Reds are also missing several key players at this stage of the game, and are weathering the storm while Luis Castillo, Jose Barrero, Donovan Solano, and others are nursing injuries. The Reds bullpen is full of potential, but it's bound to be a rollercoaster ride throughout the 2022 season.