The Cincinnati Reds bullpen has been about as bad as one could expect. On the season the bullpen has an ERA of 5.53. Tejay Antone has been the only reliable guy out of the bullpen from the start of the year, with everyone else either being downright bad or inconsistent. Last week when the Reds placed Antone on the injured list there was, understandably, a large sigh coming from Cincinnati that rivaled the sound of Krakatoa erupting in 1883.
In a shocking turn of events the bullpen has been outstanding without Tejay Antone. The Reds have played in six games since the team placed Antone on the injured list. Cincinnati has won all six of those games and some of the credit can go to the bullpen (and plenty to the offense, too). The bullpen has given up just two runs in 18.1 innings since June 11th. That’s a 0.98 ERA.
When the season began the team probably felt comfortable about the trio of Tejay Antone, Lucas Sims, and Amir Garrett. All three had dealt with an injury during the spring, but were active on opening day. Antone has been great, Sims has been inconsistent, while Garrett has generally performed poorly during the season. But the latter two have pitched better of late.
Lucas Sims gave up three runs in 0.1 innings against the Brewers on May 21st. He’s pitched in 10 games since then and the results have been fantastic. He allowed a run on June 10th. That’s the only game in which he’s allowed a run in that stretch, throwing 11.0 innings along the way. After striking out four batters on Wednesday it puts him at 17 strikeouts in that span against just three walks.
One pitcher that wasn’t on the radar when the season began was Brad Brach. He began the year with the Kansas City Royals at their alternate site, but was designated for assignment in late April and opted for free agency. A few days later he signed a minor league deal with the Reds and three weeks after dominating in Triple-A with Louisville he was called up to Cincinnati. Since making his debut with the Reds on May 21st he’s thrown 10.2 innings and allowed just four earned runs (3.38 ERA) to go along with 15 strikeouts.
Cincinnati has been playing incredibly well over the last three weeks. They are currently the hottest team in baseball – dare we say RED HOT – and are 13-3 over their last 16 games played. Tejay Antone will hopefully be back at some point during the series in San Diego. If he can come back and join a bullpen that’s figured it out – at least for the most part – then the Reds are going to be a very dangerous team.