Can the bullpen get any worse? Yes

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, watching the Chicago Cubs Jake Arrieta work just two days after watching Clayton Kershaw work and wondering, “How do they do that?”

You know guys like Arrieta, Kershaw, Johnny Cueto and Chris Sale are special when they give up a hit in the first or second inning and a broadcaster says, “Well, there goes the no-hitter.” It is as if they are expected to throw a no-hitter.

IT WAS NOT too long ago that deeply suffering Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price said, “This is insufferable to watch.” And that was before the current nine-game losing streak.

Did it appear to anybody else who watched Tuesday’s post-game show that Price was choking back tears as he talked to the media? What he has to watch every night certainly is a tear-jerker.

One thing is obvious. Price is tired of watching the same methodology out of his bullpen — walks and hits and runs — and he is going to keep trying different arms until one or two of them is used for something other than to wear Rolex watches.

During the team’s 8-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday night Price used a relief pitcher making his majo league debut and a relief pitcher making his second major league appearance.

It didn’t go well. Dyun Diaz, the man making his second appearance, gave up an unearned run on a hit and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. A.J. Morris, making his debut, retired te first two Dodgers then gave up a hit and walked three straight and was eventually charged with three runs.

It is to the point where the Reds may offer auditions and tryouts for anybody who can show they can throw a baseball 60 feet and keep it in the same zip code.

THE REDS BULLPEN continues to be in a constant state of flummox. Sam LeCure, where are you? Aroldis Chapman, we know where you are. And who ever would have thought the Reds would miss Jonathan Broxton.

The numbers are high math. The bullpen earned run average is 6.53, by far the highest in baseball — worse than Atlanta, worse than Minnesota. It has given up 120 earned runs in 165 1/3 innings. It has given up 35 home runs. It has given up 100 walks. It has blown 10 of 14 save opportunities.

And the bullpen’s road ERA, where the team is 3-and-16, is even worse at 7.39 and the bullpen is 1-and-4.

It isn’t a bullpen, it is just plain bull.

THE STARTING ROTATION, a quilt blanket of prospects and wannabes, isn’t much better, but that is to be expected with most of the projected rotation sitting in a doctor’s office. The team ERA is 5.50, last in the majors. It has issued 209 walks, most in the major leagues, with only 313 strikeouts, next-to-last in the majors.

AND BEFORE WE leave you, let’s not lay all the blame on the pitching. The offense, particularly on the road, is as anemic as an amoeba.

In their last two games against the Dodgers they have scored two runs and punched five hits over 18 innings and both runs came in one inning Tuesday.

They are scoring 3.2 runs a game on the road, hitting .225 with a .277 on base average, a .333 slugging percentage and have hit only 19 home runs.

Has anybody seen a guy named Joey Votto? Who is that impostor wearing No. 19, teasing fans with fake throws of baseballs into the stands on stomping on paper airplanes in Dodger Stadium?

Any questions why they are 3-and-16 on the road? Any questions why they are 15-and-31 overall? None? Class dismissed so you can take a nap before watching tonight’s game in Los Angeles to see if the Reds can, oh, score runs in more than one inning and get nine or 10 hits.


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