Look: this season has been really, really bad so far. We are exactly 2/9 of the way through the season (word up, arf-diggity!) and the Reds are 10-27, exactly half a game ahead of the flightless Baltimore Orioles. It’s really easy to watch this team day after day and slowly slip into a coma of midnight-black baseball malaise. my legskin is getting all boily from the stress.
Maybe I’m a food-brained moron, but I seriously think this baseball team is actually a decent one. But I think it would take quite a bit of work on my end to convince you of that, and I’m not convinced that all of that convincing work I would have to convince myself to do would actually convince you of what I’d like to convince you of. So I don’t wanna do all that.
What I do want to do is point a hey lookit that finger at this team’s bullpen. Mostly to distract you from the wolverines-dismantling-the-corpse-of-a-whitetail-fawn horrorshow that is the rotation, but all the same.
The Reds have a band of relievers that have slung some serious snacks so far this season. Raisel Iglesias is your titular closer and he has thrown just as well as we have come to expect him to. Jared Hughes got an affordable two-year free agent contract to step in and help bolster a chronically creaky relief corps and he has done all of that and even more. But there are many more worth mentioning. So let’s mention.
Those six dudes have come correct for the first six weeks or so here. And again, the rotation is unmentionable, so their stepping-up-and-stepping-in has been doubly important. These guys have thrown 98 innings collectively so far of the 138.2 innings the entire bullpen has thrown. The Reds are among the league leaders in bullpen usage due to the I’ve already mentioned how rough the rotation has been and I don’t wanna talk about it anymore. So again, getting quality innings from even the emergency bridge relievers has been awesome.
In particular, I’m all up ons Dylan Floro and Austin Brice. Coming into the season, all the Reds could reasonable rely on out of the ‘pen was Iglesias. Michael Lorenzen has been servicable-to-good the past few years, but he’s still on the DL and won’t be back for at least a few more weeks. Wandy Peralta had a good rookie season in 2017, but he has shown so far this season that even great rookie relievers are still prone to some struggles. Every bullpen needs a good handful of fellas who can tag in and tag out day after day after day, and with a few shrewd and cheap free agent signings (Hughes and Hernandez) and a few wise under-the-radar pick-ups (like Brice and Floro), that’s pretty much what the Reds have now.
I don’t want to get way out in front of my skis here and tell you that I think the Reds are on their way to being an Actual Good baseball team, but now that the lineup has starting hitting like they should and with a serviceable bullpen like this, there is something here. The rotation is still a formidable chimera to slay, but as of right now the bullpen is at least helping to tame it. That’s something to help keep you from slipping into that coma.