Statistically the best relief pitching in the National League for the 2012 season has come from the Cincinnati Reds. They are number one in several very important categories: batting average against (.208) and wins (14). They are second in ERA at 2.64. As I have said several times before, I fully believe that the reason the Cincinnati Reds are currently in first place, albeit tied, in the Central Division is because of the work done by the bullpen. They have been shut down in their role.
That being said, the last four games have not been kind to the Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen. They have lost three of the last four and blown the lead in every single one of those four games. Furthermore, it is the work of Aroldis Chapman that has been most baffling.
Chapman, the closer for the Cincinnati Reds, has allowed 3 runs in 2 of those losses. He has taken the loss in both of those games. He entered this stretch with the greateast start of a season ever. However, he has not been the same pitcher in the last two outings. He has allowed 4 hits – all were bullets and 3 were extra base hits. He is still throwing absolute gas, but his movement has not been the same. He clearly needs to work through this rough patch and find that groove again.
The rest of the Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen must also pick up the slack. They are not getting people out, walking too many and generally blowing it.
Baseball is a very long season, I know it is cliche. There are ups and downs all throughout the season. It is also a game of averages. With that being said, I believe that the Reds’ bullpen will come back around to the shut down unit it has been for the first two months of the year.
Hopefully the day off on Monday will be the refresher they need to go back to their winning ways.