If there is one thing, other than Joey Votto, that Cincinnati Reds’ fans have been able to count on this 2012 season, is that their bullpen will shut the door on their opponent and allow the Reds to come back and win. It was the one constant. Oh, sure there were home runs, but they came in bunches and usually in the solo variety. The starting pitching was consistent, if not overwhelming. The bullpen, well, they were amazing. Relief pitching for the Cincinnati Reds was a winner.
That cannot be said about the relief pitching as of the last three games. In all three games, it was the relief pitching of the Cincinnati Reds that spelled doom for the Reds. In consecutive games, Aroldis Chapman, of all people, Jose Arredondo and Sean Marshall have blown leads or not held leads to cost the Reds two wins. (To be fair, it was Chapman’s only earned run allowed for the season, so we can overlook his failing.)
As a group, they are still the best in the league. They lead the league in ERA (2.43), wins (14), strike outs (197) and batting average against (.203). However, in the last three games, in which they have worked 8 innings, they have allowed 3 runs and lost 2 games. For the Cincinnati Reds, they must have the shut down pitching in order to win games until their hitting comes along. Oh sure you can count on Votto. He has raised his batting average to .362 during his 15 game hitting streak. He is the lone consistent hitter for the Reds now. That is why the bullpen must keep their opponents at bay to wait for the Red’s hitting to blast a homer to win the game. That is the recipe for success so far this season.
Baseball is a cruel sport. It is also a sport of averages. We should be able to expect the Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen to come back to their normal form and stop costing the Reds’ wins.