The last time Graham Ashcraft toed the rubber, the right-hander went 7.2 strong innings against the Washington Nationals. But, after an infield base hit by Lane Thomas, Nationals first baseman took Ashcraft deep.
Ashcraft induced a ground ball out to the next batter to end the inning, but the damage was done. Ashcraft walked off the mound in the eighth inning with score knotted at three runs apiece. The Reds would go on to lose by a final of 6-3 in extra innings.
David Bell avoids making the same mistake again, but the Reds still lost the game.
Today's series finale against the Miami Marlins saw Graham Ashcraft toss another gem. The right-hander held the Marlins to just one run through seven innings of work. Ashcraft was lifted in favor of Ian Gibaut with the Reds leading the Marlins 4-1. Giabut went 0.2 innings after striking out two and allowing one hit.
With the left-handed hitting Luis Arraez coming to the dish, David Bell brought in the Reds newest reliever Sam Moll. Arraez laced a single into the outfield, and Moll surrendered a gopher ball to the next batter. Josh Bell tied the game with a three-run bomb. Alexis Diaz allowed the game-winning homer in the ninth, and the Reds fell 5-4.
There's sure to be a certain segment of the Reds fanbase who'll want to blame David Bell for this loss, but the harsh reality is that this team is showing regression toward the mean.
The short outings by the starters throughout the season have required several relievers to pitch a lot more innings than they're accustomed to doing. Couple that with the laundry list of pitchers on the IL, and you get a bullpen that utterly gassed.
No, Reds fans don't need to throw in the towel. There's still a lot of baseball to be played and several players are readying to return from prolonged stays on the injured list. But after playing above expectations for most of the season, the workload seems to be catching up with the relief corps.
While it may not be popular, a phantom IL stint or two for some members of the overworked Cincinnati Reds bullpen may be in order. Once Vladimir Gutierrez, Tejay Antone, and others are deemed healthy, expect to see some roster moves.