After a solid win in Tuesday night’s game, the Cincinnati Reds lost 9-4 to the Chicago Cubs in another game that was blown by their bullpen arms. While Tony Cingrani toed the rubber for the Reds facing off against recent Reds-killer Edwin Jackson of the Cubs, the game wasn’t out of hand until the Cincinnati bullpen took over.
Sadly, this wasn’t the first time this has happened to the Reds this year.
Manager Bryan Price raised eyebrows when he pulled Cingrani from the game after just four innings and 79 pitches. With the Reds winning in the top of the fifth, youngster Nick Christiani came into the game to promptly surrendered the lead by allowing two runs on two hits with three walks in two innings, an occurrence that has become all-too-recognizable early in the season.
Young arms have proven to be inconsistent in the season’s first month for the Reds. Christiani, Curtis Partch, Trevor Bell and even more “seasoned” arms such as J.J. Hoover, Logan Ondrusek and Manny Parra have shown their inability to secure a Reds lead. The most upsetting recent performance came in the form of the utter failure of relief pitcher Sean Marshall, who gave up four runs (two earned) on four hits in just 0.2 IP on Thursday against Chicago. Marshall was supposed to present Price with a reliable veteran arm out of the bullpen to shut down the opposition, not surrender runs.
With Sam LeCure and Jonathan Broxton providing consistency for the Reds, the return of closer Aroldis Chapman and Alfredo Simon to the bullpen cannot come soon enough. For a team looking for relief pitching consistency, a return to staff normalcy could be the cure.
The Reds face a tough upcoming weekend as the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers head into Cincinnati. Sitting at 12-15 after the first month of the season, the Reds and their bullpen are in need of a strong performance to make progress in the competitive NL Central. With the inconsistent performance of the Reds’ offense, Cincinnati cannot afford to suffer inconsistencies in their bullpen as well.