Cincinnati had a chance to win the series on Thursday afternoon, but the bullpen gave up three runs in the top of the 9th as they blew the game. Miami’s 7-6 win gave the Marlins a series split.
|Miami Marlins (47-52)
|Cincinnati Reds (38-60)
|W: Pop (2-0) L: Strickland (2-3) SV: Scott (14)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Cincinnati got back-to-back 1-out doubles in the 1st inning from Brandon Drury and Tommy Pham to take a 1-0 lead. After Joey Votto walked to put two men on, an unlucky and scary incident happened as Donovan Solano hit a liner back up the middle that hit pitcher Daniel Castano in the forehead then flew towards third base where Joey Wendle caught it on the fly. Castano walked off the field on his own, but he left the game and it was later announced he had a mild concussion.
Cincinnati was trailing 3-1 entering the 4th, but the offense got back to work. Matt Reynolds and Nick Senzel singled, with Reynolds scoring on a ground out and then Senzel coming in on a Mark Kolozsvary double into the right-center gap that tied the game up. The Reds grabbed the lead in the 5th after three straight singles from Tommy Pham, Joey Votto, and Donovan Solano produced a run. In the 6th inning it was a homer from Tyler Naquin that padded the lead and made it 5-3.
After the bullpen blew a 5-4 lead and turned it into a 7-5 deficit, the offense needed to get to work in the bottom of the 9th if they wanted a series win. Kyle Farmer grounded out to start the inning. Stuart Fairchild came off of the bench to pinch hit for Mark Kolozsvary and he struck out. That left things up to Jonathan India to get something going and he did his job, drawing a 5-pitch walk. Brandon Drury did the same thing, putting the winning run at the plate in Tommy Pham. He lined a single into left field to plate India and make it a 7-6 game. Joey Votto came up next, but he would lose the lefty-lefty match up as he struck out to end the game.
After holding the Marlins scoreless in the first two innings, Miami got to Graham Ashcraft in the 3rd inning when Jesus Aguilar hit a 2-run homer to put his team on top 2-1. Two singles with a passed ball mixed in in the 4th inning added to the Marlins lead and made it 3-1.
Graham Ashcraft was cruising until the top of the 7th when he was holding onto a 5-3 lead. After getting a ground out to start the inning Jacob Stallings doubled off of him. The next batter grounded out, but moved Stallings to third base. David Bell came to the mound but left Ashcraft in the game. Jesus Aguilar promptly doubled to make it a 5-4 game and Bell returned to bring in Alexis Diaz. The rookie reliever got out of the jam to hold the lead in the 7th. He returned for the 8th and did the same thing.
Hunter Strickland then came out for the 9th inning and gave up a game-tying home run to the leadoff batter and then walked the next hitter. That led to a mound visit. It didn’t work as Strickland then hit the third batter of the inning. David Bell had seen enough and called on Buck Farmer to come into the game out of the bullpen with two men on and no outs. That move also didn’t work as Joey Wendle doubled in a run and then Jesus Aguilar hit a sacrifice fly as the Marlins jumped ahead 7-5. A caught stealing and a strikeout ended the inning, but the damage had been done.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Baltimore Orioles vs Cincinnati Reds
Friday July 29th, 6:40pm ET
TBA vs Mike Minor (1-7, 6.65 ERA)
But….Reds bullpen issues again. If it means taking the series 3 out of 4 against the Marlins here, why not have A Diaz pitch the 9th inning. Odds are really good, that he would have closed it out, and Reds would have won 5-4. Even if Diaz doesn’t pitch the next 2-3 days. You get a moral victory taking 3 or 4 from the Marlins. Bigger picture is the Reds will never ever be close to competing if they don’t fix that bullpen! You cannot have pitchers in the bullpen that have been with multiple teams and also that don’t deserve to be in the big leagues. Pitchers that should be either in AA or AAA. Are the Reds willing to make the bullpen a priority, just like the Bengals made their offensive line a priority this off season? I have my doubts about owner B Cast wanting to address the bullpen…we shall see…
I agree 100%! Why not send Diaz out to start the 9th! Who knows, he may have gotten the 3 lousy outs the Reds needed to secure the victory! But alas, Bell is compelled to play Relief Pitcher Roulette!
Yeah that makes sense over working a pitcher not far removed from the dl in a meaningless season
Honestly, I love the way Bell used our bullpen. He had Diaz, our best RP, face the spots 3 thru 6 in the Marlins lineup–the heart of their order. Strickland was asked to get the 7 thru 9 hitters out in the 9th–he didn’t get the job done. We have nine RPs on the IL as of today. Overworking Diaz is not the answer.
BK, thank you for the small dose of reality. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Apparently outs are only important in the ninth inning.
Exactly BK. Diaz faced the toughest hitters. Strickland had the easier part of the lineup. Strickland is not a closer…….but who else is Bell going to use? He was given a bad bullpen when the season started and its gotten ridiculously bad with all the injuries.
Reiver Sanmartin, Buck Farmer, Dauri Moreta, Joel Kuhnel, Jared Solomon, Ryan Hendrix. I believe all are younger than Strickland. Pick a name or two, I don’t care who. Just give any of these guys a chance ahead of Strickland.
Strickland has to go.
Never, ever been impressed by Strickland! My guess is he has more blown saves than saves!
This month Strickland has had 5 save opportunities and he’s blown 3 of them.
On the season he’s 2-3 with a 5.70 ERA, 40 appearances, 36 1/3 innings, 36 hits, 26 runs, 23 earned, given up 5 HRs, hit 7 batters, 22 walks, 30 strikeouts, .264 average and 1.60 WHIP.
The hit batters and walks tell you all you need to know. But somehow he’s just barely good enough that the Reds seemingly refuse to get rid of him.
On Strickland’s behalf, He has been pitching in a lot of games lately, Maybe, he finally ran out of gas. I know he has not been very consistent this season, but I am not ready for Diaz to be the closer. Maybe next season Diaz becomes the closer, but I think he just needs a little more time in the 7th or 8th innings of games.
On a side note, Bell should have gone with someone more rested.
Start pinch hitting for Votto against lefthanders he has no chance.
In Votto’s best days, when he came to plate with a chance to tie or win the game I had great confidence in him. Now when he comes to the plate they play a Dolly Parton song about somebody losing their man. Instead of a song by Dolly Parton, Votto’s walk up should be Mighty Casey because like Casey, the mighty Votto has just struck out. Game Over!
Sadly – 10,000.
Leroy what’s a great BA with RISP? .300?
It means you’re failing 7 out of 10 times.
Votto shouldn’t be playing against lefties. Completely overmatched. Sad to watch.
Just when you think the Reds bullpen has gotten their act together they revert back to theri old ineffective (and losing) habits of walking batters or hitting batters and then giving up home runs in a late-inning one-run game! Hard to have hope after a gutsy outing by one of the Reds young guns, in this case Ashcraft! Gotta be demoralizing for the Reds starting pitchers to watch time-after-time the bullpen pitches fail to secure a win as a reward for their hard work!
I don’t think it’s not a matter of getting their act together, I think it’s a matter of having the right people. Diaz, SanMartin, Moreta, and Santillan have a real chance to be very good relievers in the future. They are however, all young, and could benefit from a couple of high leverage veteran arms. If the Reds do spend money on FA’s in 23, I hope they get a FA closer and a FA setup man. FA Closer, FA Setup, Diaz, SanMartin, Moreta, Santillan and hopefully Antone, and Sims should make a solid pen.
I would add Williamson to that group, but with the likely trades of Castillo and Mahle, the Reds will need all the starter options available that they can get.
Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, and Dunn would seem to be odds on favorites with Overton, Williamson, Abbott, and Phillips all pushing for the 5th spot and of corse you need backups due to injury or lack of performance.
Watching the game, it looked like with two outs in the 9th, the runners could have taken 2nd and 3rd easily. Were they worried Joey would be intentionally walked? Put pressure on their defense and especially on their pitcher if he decides to load the bases.
Despite it all, another encouraging start from Ashcraft. For a rookie, he is showing that he belongs in the MLB. Hopefully he (and Greene) can keep learning and building on what they have learnt to really unlock their true potential.
this Solano guy can hit. i would rather have him in the clean up spot than Votto at this point. of course I am sure reds ownership will find some weird excuse not to keep him around, like Jose Iglesias.
I have been telling my wife, that Votto needs to be moved down in the lineup until/if he starts hitting. He certainly looks overmatched with lefties. I realize he has been one of the all time great Reds, but it is time to do what gives the team the best chance to win games!
Mistake one was Bell let Ash face Aguilar in the 7th.Led the ninth with Farmer instead of Naquin who was good enough to start in right against a lefty but not down 2 in the ninth I guess.Next Fairchild for Kolo I guess was to be sure we use the entire roster even though Kolo had an earlier run scoring double,Two outs now and we get down to Joey against a lefty and he ain’t being pinch hit for period.Of course that may have been a good spot for Farmer he led the inning and of course its Moose or Joey or Pap left I think but Joey wasn’t not going to be taken down anyway.Mattingly played it like it was a play off game and Bell just does what he always does
Just to clarify none of what I said will be discussed after the game and if Hunter gets em out and the Reds win it wouldn’t have mattered.Bell’s lineup was joke and his in game management was even worse.Other managers just play him and if they keep it up he will just crumble.His ego and the fact his job is safe is just mind boggling at times yet we play on.Come on August 2
Who do you use as a pitch hitter for Votto in that situation? Moose? The back up catcher? Bullpen lost this game again. Has nothing to do with Votto. Seems like he is scapegoat when this team bullpen gets beat. LOL
I keep saying it, but unless bullpen issues are fixed. This team will not win. Saw it last season and again this year.
If I’m not mistaken, the bullpen has saved 19 games and blown 13. Not good.
Sad to see Votto go from one of the most beloved Cincinnati athlete to a player who has my business playing against lefthanders. As I said, he’ll make the Hall but it’s pathetic the way he’s limping in. This is why small market teams should never sign long term contracts. Can’t afford to swallow them. Reminds me of a once great golfer who can’t make a cut anymore.
I’m thinking he ruined all chance of the hall,just doesn’t have the numbers
Not that it matters at all, but I was not pleased when the Red’s signed Votto to such a long term contract. He’s been a great hitter, without a doubt, with his extraordinary talent of getting on base. I don’t think he’ll make the Hall after five years eligibility, but he will make it eventually.
David Bell will not be the Reds manager when they next contend in 2025.
His Dad is in the Reds front office. If he weren’t, David Bell would have been fired at the All-Star break.
I hope you’re correct. But who of the principal ownership is going to remove DB from the job?
Reds starting with Bell have many many issues to even become a winning team.Joey Votto is not an issue now or next year.He is either an every day position player at first or he is a part time DH.Until the Reds improve their pen,get rid of Bell and get younger and more athletic in the field what Joey does or doesn’t do means little to the team in wins or losses.
The plate appearance for Fairchild in the 9th was one that pointed out why these young guys need to be getting leverage PAs.
He had strike three timed all the all but pulled off it thinking it was ball four only to get burned when it dropped in for a fairly called strike three. That’s a pitch a guy is rarely going to see even at AAA, especially on a full count situation. The only way a guy is going to learn by seeing it on a prep video or in person.
Hopefully he learned his lesson.
Strickland needs to go. Bring up someone from AA or AAA and give them experience.
I’m copying this post from the previous thread so some of you can get some pleasure telling me how stupid I am.
The bullpen these last two years has been absolutely brutal. The Reds have the next dominant closer in baseball already on their roster, he just happens to be a below average pitcher in their starting rotation. Quality starters rarely only have two effective pitches. According to fangraphs his ERA the first time through the order is 2.75, elevates to 6.75 on the second ABs and 10.38 on the 3rd time through the order. If that doesn’t scream closer then I don’t know what does. I Wish I was wrong, but the young Mr. Greene looks a whole lot more like Aroldis Chapman than Nolan Ryan. Put him where he will help the team the most. With him as the closer this bullpen could be a totally different beast. I also think it might help him stay healthy and have a longer career.
You’re not stupid, but Chapman had 3 excellent pitches—one of which was light years better than anyone else in baseball at the time—and he never should have been left in the bullpen. That said, neither should HG, even if he doesn’t have 3 great pitches yet. He needs to learn, and assuming he does he’ll prove again that top shelf starting pitching is the most valuable thing for a team to have, especially for a team like the Reds that can’t go buy top shelf starting pitching.
We all knew the bullpen was going to stink and the Reds didnt invest in it. That said, Diaz has emerged as a good young bullpen piece with a 1.91 ERA. Thats a big development in 2022 from a young controlled arm.
Riding the tide today made me seasick. Seems like this season a 50/50 split in a series would be enough, but the teased us again today and we bought it until they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Baltimore tomorrow as long as the VPN trick works.
I love Joey Votto. He’s my 2nd favorite Reds player behind Johnny Bench. But its time to admit his career as a productive first baseman is over. Father Time always wins.
Hes never had a season remotely this bad. His walk rates and strike out rates are radically off his career. His defense and baserunning are worst in the league.
Dont shoot the messenger. Joey Votto is past decline. He is done as a productive big leaguer.
Career vs 2022
CareerBB% 15.8% K% 18.5% .298/.413/.515/.928 wRC+ 147. WAR 58.3
2022 BB% 11.7% K% 27.4% .210/.321/.377/.698 wRC+ 95 .WAR -0.6
Perfectly said. I know everyone wants Bell to drop him in the order and against lefties but I would think Votto would do what’s best for the team. I know his ego won’t allow it but it should. Comes a time when a certain amount of animosity develops among the other. players. It causes Bell to lose his clubhouse and Votto to lose the respect of his teammates. That could give a crap what he did 10 years ago.
And you think you can speak for the players?
Everyone here who would walk away from $25,000,000 for playing baseball next year, please raise your hand.
@Daytonnati, and anyone here who has made over $228,000,000 in your career please raise your hand.
See the absurdity of your statement? I’m not saying I walk away from $25M, but when I’ve made $228M and the $25M risks tarnishing my legacy, I certainly at least consider it.
You walking away from $25M and Votto walking away from $25M are two completely different considerations. It’s not even comparable.
It’s fun to think about how many more wins this team might have if they’d spent $10 million on three good relievers instead of one really bad starter we all expected would be bad. I think 10-12 more wins is a conservative estimate.
10 to 12 wins is not conservative
Also might be prudent to define what a “good” reliever is, most of those types are probably not taking a 3.3MM contract
I think the point J makes is very valid however the math and salaries might break out.
$10M is a good start on a solid bullpen.
That Krall didn’t see it is a serious mark against his judgement.
Sure, but the BP was a patchwork at best.
Bell share in the blame for much of this.
His “I don’t need a closer..” mentality fed into the Reds cheapness and helped drive off Iggy and certainly Archie Bradley.
I’m sure he convinced management that his mix and match method was supported by analytics.
And it was cheap.
Sure, Iggy had a tough time with the “You’ll pitch in the 7th for two innings..” instead of his favored role as closer.
How much did Bell explain or sell it to him?
How much Spanish does Bell, or anyone on the Reds bench speak?
Does he detail all that to Freddie B?
Inexcusable for a modern MLB manager not to speak Spanish.
So Iggy got shipped out, too, and the savings got applied to what?
Sure, Chapman was a d-bag but the Reds panicked and we had to suffer, and I do mean suffer, through one “Rookie” Davis.
How brutal was that?
Anyone who has watched the Reds over the last decade knows how many games the bullpen has tossed off.
The repeated incidents of walking the first batter seen, HBP and grooved pitch HR suggests no one is paying attention.
It happens over and over, despite the brief reprise we’ve been recently given.
Given the shorter and shorter stints by the SR the bullpen has to be as much a priority as the rotation or maintaining a ‘FarmDog’ or stockpiling shortstops.
The Reds always seem to want to do it on the cheap and the results speak for themselves.
Alexis Diaz on the phone to his hermano after the game:
“No me creo esta mierda.”
@2020 that’s fair, it’s closer to 1 good reliever than 3. The reds need to spend 20M – 25M on bullpen help next year. The payroll will probably decrease by 40M, depending on the trades made before next Opening Day. They could use the other 15M or so to get more guys like Solano to enhance the offense.
Go look at the list of free agent relievers who signed deals in 2022. Quite a few took deals in the $3.5 million range who would be considered “good” by almost any measure. I’m not talking about superstar closers; I’m talking about guys who are somewhat above average, which would make them heads and shoulders better than most of the Reds’ current relievers. Not only would this have made the bullpen better, it would also mean Minor wouldn’t have pitched for this team. Win-win.
I’m all for spending $ on the bullpen. but please don’t think a useful reliever is coming to Great American Ballpark for anywhere near what he will make in Milwaukee or Chicago. The Reds will have to either a) pay a huge premium in $ and length of deal or b) get guys at the end of their career and still pay premium in $. The word is out – don’t go to Cincinnati unless you are at the end of the line because your #’s will stink at the end and you won’t get another contract. This is clear.
So, spend the $ but realize you aren’t getting Daniel Hudson for $7M or Archie Bradley for $4M. We’re going to have to overpay like the White Sox or Phillies did this past season for relief help so 10$M likely won’t be enough. And often the $ spent on relief never becomes a good investment unless you are looking at the top closers in all of baseball. So, are we willing to spend $8-12 million for each solid relief pitcher? because the is what it will take.
Redsvol, sorry but I’m not buying it. Givens pitched in GAB and then got a nice contract afterwards. Iglesias did quite all right for himself after pitching here. Castillo’s not a relief pitcher, but he’s obviously not hurt his long-term financial prospects one iota by pitching half his games at GAB (and mostly for lousy teams). These other teams aren’t stupid. Everyone understands that GAB is a tough place to pitch. Everyone understands numbers at GAB don’t necessarily translate to other ballparks. The Cubs didn’t evaluate Givens based on his numbers at GAB, they evaluated his overall numbers and knew he could pitch.
By your logic, free agent hitters should be dying to play for Cincinnati to “pad their stats,” so the Reds should be able to get amazing deals on hitters, but that doesn’t ever seem to be the case.
I think a much bigger problem getting free agents to play in GAB is that they want to play for a winner, they want to get at least the same money they can get elsewhere, they want to play in a city where fans actually attend games and make a little noise, they want to play in big markets where they can get big endorsement deals, etc. I doubt the ballpark itself plays much of a role in most of these decisions.
Redsvol, you make a good point, though I think your numbers are inflated…though I’m just making up numbers, too.
The Reds consistently face teams with solid middle innings relief corps.
These aren’t yet “name” pitchers and aren’t commanding 8 figure salaries.
Yet they have sub 4.00 eras and seem to often hold the Reds in check innings 6-9.
It’s a matter of priorities and the Reds clearly haven’t prioritized it.
For years and years.
It’s a fundamental problem with the team and it gets little or no attention from management or coaching.
Folks will say: “These are the hands Bell was dealt.”
Sure. But he does nothing but make excuses for poor performance and shuffle the same dead weight sans Diaz around.
For once I’d like to hear him say: “That walk, HBP and tater were inexcusable! We’ve got to do better than this and here’s what I’m going to do about it…..”
Bell is far from the only person who sees the traditional closer role as a waste of your best relief pitcher. He seems to be using Diaz in high-leverage situations, rather than bringing him in to pitch the 9th regardless of who he’ll be facing. This becomes an issue when rest of the pen is completely unreliable. I agree wholeheartedly that the importance of the pen calls for more resources being committed to build s good one.
Votto should be a DH against RH and McGarry should be given a shot at !B or Santana brought up to play 3B and move Drury to 1B. It’s time!
2020ball, you’ve got any original ideas or just responses. Let’s just let this dumpster fire continue.
Definition of a troll.
Criticize the responses of posters always and never off a solution or an original baseball thought or novel idea
Trolls are trolls .
Every post is attacking a poster.
No posts are about how to make Reds win
Old-school – this is also what sneaky good politicians do.
De la Cruz and McGarry homer
When I lived in Cincinnati there was a tenor sax player named Jimmy McGary, with one “R”.
That cat could blow and and lot of national folks seconded the motion.
But he was content to stay in town.
He had a trio, with an organist named Wayne Yeager and a drummer named Bobby Scott who was crusher.
They held court at a little club on Vine Street and McMillan if I’m not mistaken.
Here’s a clip of Jimmy “One M” McGary.
I’m pulling for another Scotch-Irishman to rip in up in the Queen City.
That cat could blow.
Let’s hope “Double M” McGarry can keep hitting.
I’m thinking The Blue Wisp, but that was in O’Bryonville, then moved downtown to a couple of locations. 8th street … Race?
Not the Blue Wisp…which was an awesome club, particularly the O’Bryonville location while I was in town.
I loved that club.
I think the place might have been called “Cory’s”….
Do you remember it?
Wasn’t a dedicated jazz club, but Jimmy McG had a regular gig there.
Cincinnati had a great jazz scene when we lived there.
There was a drummer named John “The Count” Von Ohlen who led a big band that held residence at the O’Bryonville Blue Wisp.
And maybe at other locations of the club.
That guy dropped more bombs on the tubs than the USAF.
Great big band.
I was pals at the time with Stevie Schmidt who was the pianist in the band.
I think he still gigs around town.
Neither will se GABP this year or next our roster is full of good young players already.
Anybody out there got any numbers on how many leads the Reds of blown after the 7th inning in the last two years? In my mind we would have easily made the playoffs last year with just a decent bullpen in the first half of the year. Could be wrong. To a fan every blown save feels like three.
I will put it this way with Bell. . .I don’t believe he has any clue on how to use any bench players, including the pen.
For example, whether you include today or not, there have been way too many times where, from the worst pen in the league, he got a reliever to have a clean inning. Then, he replaces that reliever with another reliever from the worst pen in the league! Simply a stupid move.
Then, I remember 2 situations, I believe, where Bell used up 3 players on one move. For example, the last one I remember, he had someone pinch hit for a player, and they got a single. Then, he immediately pinch runs for that player, and he gets picked off first. So, for the same spot in the batting order, he took out the starter and well as the initial replacement (the pinch hitter) to go with the third guy. That is such a waste of players. It’s ridiculous to me.
People could fault the starting 8 all they want, I believe the biggest weakness on this team the last 2 seasons has been the pen. Last year 27th in the entire league, this year last in the entire league by more than a half run. The median ERA for relievers is just a bit under 4. I’m left to simply wonder just how many games would we have been able to have won if we had a pen with an ERA like that.
If we compete next year, I do believe we need an OF we can count on and 2 starting pitchers. But, we still won’t do anything without at least 2 relievers we can count on.
I have stated before that the bullpen, to me, is pretty much a crapshoot. I truly believe this. However, that said, just like a crapshoot, if you aren’t being successful, you don’t just keep doing the same thing over and over again. You step back and try to change things up. If I were the Reds, I would entirely revamp the bullpen.
This isn’t something I believe you can count on Tejay and Sims, either. I mean, Sims was on this team last year, still had a 4.4 ERA. Tejay will be coming off a tremendous surgery; no telling how good/bad he will be next season.
It has begun Tyler naquin and Philip deihl sent to the Mets
I heard someone say there were rumors that the Reds may hold only Castillo. That would truly be wondrous to me. For, after this past off season, I could only surmise that the Reds were going to try to build a “Tampa Bay Rays 2.0” type of club, judging by all the moves they were making. Which would call for trading off Mahle, Castillo, and Drury.
If they don’t trade them off, then what the heck could they be doing? I mean, I’ve said before, in making trades, it’s easy to say “trade them”, much harder to get it done. But, surely, there are teams coming with proposals for the players.
Born in 75 during the reign of theBRM. Grew up in rural Ky never missing a game on 700 am radio. Progressed to channel 5 viewing leading to lifelong fan. Have followed every up and down since I got hooked as a little bug in the eighties. There is no such thing as a head first slide where I live, it’s a Pete Rose slide! That being said this year has tested my resolve to never miss a game or at minimum recap/box score no matter what time zone I inhabited. Found this site a ways back and read every night. Have never posted and likely never will again. Post now as a token of my appreciation to the OGS keeping this up for the diehard redlegs that may have wandered away from the beloved summer grind this year. A simple thank you for your time, shared love of the reds, and unwavering passion for the game is all I have to offer. So there it is. Thank you. Please keep it up.
Barry Larkin in the 9th inning: you have to wonder when David Bell is going to give save opportunities to Alexis Diaz.
NO KIDDING! I’ve been saying this for months. It’s one thing for me to say but when Larkin also says it, I know I’m right. Sorry David Bell. You continue to be very tardy making obvious changes like Diaz to close and getting Votto out of Cleanup.
The save is a stat for agents, since saves are useful in contract negotiations, but can you think of another reason why the best relief pitcher should be saved for the ninth inning instead of being brought in to deal with the other team’s best hitters, men on base, and so on? That might sometimes happen in the 9th, of course, but if you give up a bunch of runs in the 7th or 8th, who pitches the 9th is often irrelevant. All of this also underscores why a team needs more than one good relief pitcher.