Something happened on the way to a win Thursday afternoon in New York for the Cincinnati Reds. They were cruising along with a 4-3 lead. Getting a quality start from upredictable Mat Latos. He worked 5 innings and gave up 3 runs. The Reds turned to the bullpen. This is the bullpen that has the lowest ERA in the league. This is the shut down bullpen that most teams dream of. Cincinnati Reds’ manager, Dusty Baker turned the game over to them and, what do you know, they blew it.
JJ Hoover worked a perfect 6th, as he has most of the year. I’m very impressed with this kid. Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban Missile, came in and, well, a walk, a single, an error, a sacrifice fly later and what you have is a blown save. Chapman allowed a run – it wasn’t earned – but he did allow a run. Logan Ondrusek came in to work the 9th and fell apart. Ondrusek gave up 4 hits and 5 runs to take the loss (3-1) and raise his ERA to 2.76. All that gave the Cincinnati Reds a 9-4 loss to the New York Mets.
The part of the game that still nags at me is why, when he did not have to due to the batting order, would Baker remove Chapman in favor of Ondrusek in the 9th. Sure Chapman blew the save. But, let’s be honest, what are the chances that he would have another inning in the 9th like he did in the 8th? If your best pitcher in the pen is out there, why not stay with him in a tie game? I just do not understand the way that Baker uses him.
I know things like this happen, even for the best pitchers and teams in baseball. However, that does not make it easier to watch when it is your team, especially when the guys blowing the game have proven to be so good this season. I’ve come to expect the hitting and starting pitching to be very inconsistent, but not the bullpen. My advice to Cincinnati Reds fans everywhere is to remember that it is a very long season, the Reds are still above .500 and in second place. Add in that they are in the weakest division in the Naitonal League and there is hope.
The Cincinnati Reds will stay in New York and take on the New York Yankees Friday evening as they begin inter-league play.