Saturday evening saw the best of the 2023 Cincinnati Reds - not in the ‘they’ve got an entire fleet of great rookies’ way, that is, but in the ‘their bullpen is smoke and mirrors held together by duct tape and still better than yours’ way.
With Alexis Diaz unavailable after his 5-out outing on Friday night, the Reds still found a way to close out the New York Mets in a 3-2 victory, Derek Law notching a save within the same week that he started a game helmed by the team’s bullpen. It was perfectly indicative of the way this malleable unit has become mostly roleless, each member willing and able to treat every single out with the same level of importance as any other.
That’s precisely what we all began asking for over a decade ago, wasn’t it? For managers to ignore inning-based roles and lean deeper into matchups, styles, and leverage? For all the discussion of David Bell’s extension with the Reds, the way he’s conjured up a successful bullpen in this form seems to have been something of a quiet topic, though it’s certainly beginning to feel like a big, big reason why he’s been kept around.
Anyway, the Reds won 3-2 last night, and that puts them in position to claim a sweep of the Mets with a victory today. And considering the Chicago Cubs are in their own freefall as losers of each of their last 4 games, the Reds could find themselves all the way into the second National League Wild Card spot by the end of the day.
They’ll need lefty Brandon Williamson to fuel their chances today, the rookie lefty having struggled to the tuen of 5 ER in just 4.0 IP in Detroit in his most recent outing. Of course, that was his first game in weeks as he’d been sidelined on the COVID injured list, so hopefully he’s in a better spot physically today.
Meanwhile, the Reds will be tasked with yet another lefty starter against them, as veteran Jose Quintana will toe the rubber for New York to start. As a result, we’ll see Joey Votto bat 7th to start for the first time in I don’t even know how long, an indication that Bell has that many more players in which he’s confident against southpaws at this juncture.
We shall see.
First pitch is set for 1:40 PM ET. Go Reds!