In Part I of my mid-season assessment of the Cincinnati Reds, I spent the entire blog discussing the starting pitching. Again, they have been a great surprise and, really, the main reason the Reds are in the thick of divisional lead.
In Part II of my three-part series, I am going to focus on the relief pitching of the Cincinnati Reds.
At the start of the Spring Training, the Cincinnati Reds appeared to be in great shape in the bullpen. They had just signed Sean Marshall to set up the also newly signed Ryan Madson, who was to be the closer the Reds desperately needed. Then disaster struck for Madson and the Reds. He went down with a season ending elbow injury and Dusty Baker had to move Aroldis Chapman to the bullpen. Add to the mix of uncertainty Nick Massett’s injury that has kept him out for the first half of the season and the Reds were in real scamble mode.
Flash forward to the All-Star break and let’s take a look at where we stand in the relief department with the Cincinnati Reds.
-ERA – The Reds are second in the league in this category with 2.77.
-Won/Loss – 16-14. The Reds are second in wins in this category; however, they are tied for sixth in losses – so this one is a wash.
-Batting Average Against – The Reds find themselves second in the league here too with an average of .215. Not bad.
-Strike outs – Fourth with 254. Again, not bad.
-Saves – The bullpen is fifth in the league with 23; they also rank sixth in percentage saved at 70%. Should be much higher.
-Home runs allowed – Again, the Reds find themselve near the top here tied for third fewest at 20.
Individually the two most productive relievers have been Chapman and Jose Arredondo. Both have been world beaters, especially Chapman, and both have been just awful.
After an incredible start, a rough patch in which he couldn’t seem to get anyone out, and then a rebound, Chapman stands at 4-4, with and ERA of 1.83 and 11 saves. He still has a miniscule walks plus hits per inning pitched at .74 and has 71 strike outs. In that category, he stands at an amazing 16.22 strike outs per inning pitched. Imagine where he would be if he started, like he was supposed to.
Arredondo has been the bigger surprise for me. He’s still scary and walks too many (22), but he does have a 4-2 record, 2.04 ERA and a WHIP average of 1.2. So all in all, he has been solid.
The rest of the bullpen has been erratic, at best. Bill Bray (terrible so far), JJ Hoover (not a lot to go on, but been good enough to stay around), Logan Ondrusek (again, erratic), Alfred Simon (a good waivers pick up) and the rest just need to be more consistent. If they can do that, the Cincinnati Reds will be set – given the starters’ performances so far.
To sum it up, the Cincinnati Reds came into the season with the bullpen being a big question mark. I think it is still a question mark, just not a big one. It’s small and getting smaller. The return of Massett will help markedly.