With news that Cincinnati Reds fire-ball closer Aroldis Chapman threw live batting practice before Wednesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the expectation of a fully restored Reds’ bullpen is becoming a reality.
Chapman will still be out for at least a couple weeks until he completes a minor league rehab assignment, but until he returns, the Reds can rely on experienced closer Jonathan Broxton, who converted his third save of the season against the Pirates Wednesday night.
Broxton started 2014 on the disabled list before returning to action on April 11. He was preceded Wednesday night by Sam Lecure and Sean Marshall, who made his second appearance of the year after also starting the season on the disabled list.
Broxton and Marshall will resume their roles as the primary lefty-righty, eighth-inning tandem once Chapman returns in May. The return of Broxton and Marshall couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Reds’ bullpen has been struggling with the likes of J.J. Hoover, Manny Parra and Logan Ondrusek pitching in the stead of Broxton, Marshall and also Alfredo Simon, who had to shift from reliever to starter as a rotation replacement for Mat Latos.
The Reds’ bullpen going into Wednesday night’s game with the Pirates was dead last in the NL in ERA with an unsightly 5.77 and also worst in WHIP (1.72).
Now that the worst of the makeshift bullpen appears to be behind them, the Reds can look forward to the bullpen envisioned at the outset of the season in which Broxton and Marshall setup Chapman, like the 2012 bullpen that was second in the NL in ERA (2.65) in over 434 innings.