Rotation on a roll

 The Reds aren’t breaking off on a huge winning streak yet, but they are getting some very good starting pitching. And that could eventually reap benefits for sustained winning.

Bronson Arroyo worked into the eighth inning for the Reds 6-4 win over the Dodgers. He allowed 4 ER, 6 H,  0 BB, 1 K, 1 HB. He threw 98 pitches/68 strikes.

The Reds rotation is 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA over the last eight games and has three wins during the 3-2 road trip to this point.

“It’s going to be the key for us,” Arroyo said. “If we don’t have that, we’re not going be able to win ballgames. As good as our offense has been numbers-wise throughout the whole year compared with the rest of the league, it’s not enough to overcome four and five-run deficits early in the ballgame. For us to get deep in the ballgame like we are, try to peel back the innings for the guys in the bullpen a little bit, especially going into the hotter months of the season, will be key for us.”




*Arroyo is 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA in his last four starts vs. the Dodgers.

*Francisco Cordero notched career save No. 303 by striking out the side in the ninth after a leadoff walk. Cordero is tied with Doug Jones for 20th on the all-time saves list.

*Homers by Chris Heisey (two outs, sixth) and Joey Votto (three-run shot, seventh) snapped a five-game streak without a home run for the Reds.

*Arroyo helped himself with a bloop RBI single to right field in the seventh that provided the go-ahead run.

*After the Reds couldn’t win a game at Chavez Ravine from 2006-2009 (0-12), they have won three of the last four here.


“They’ve thrown well. They threw well in San Francisco. Obviously Bronson threw well tonight. You hope for that every time. Our offense is necessary but the team’s priority is always pitching and defense.” — Joey Votto

“That was a big home run by Heisey because Kuroda was really dealing at the time.” — Dusty Baker


Lots of quality starts lately, but also some good pitching wasted. Mark, what’s the team’s record in games tied in the 7th and after? It seems like the Reds don’t win those late tied or extra-inning games. We’ve focused on the starting pitching and ‘problems’ with SS and LF, but isn’t the bullpen, Cordero excepted, pretty weak? How does it rank with the rest of the league / divsion?

I believe the bullpen is very strong for the most part. A couple of bad outings by 1 or 2 guys, doesn’t define the season for them.

I’m not arguing that – it just seems like the Reds don’t win their share of late inning / extra inning games. That’s my impression, which is often an unreliable guide. So let’s go to the stats.

Finally, a comment that hits on the central flaw of this year’s team as they plod along at or around 500. I know. I know. Until very recently, the starting pitching has been consistently atrocious, and its failures have surely overburdened the bullpen. But we have also seen lately how that can be turned around, And the lack of production at shortstop and in leftfield has never really been the key issue, only a distraction. The consistent thorn in the side is the bullpen. Individually, they look good. A lot of sparkling era’s. We all know how deceiving bullpen eras can be with a bad outing or two, but it can work in the other direction as well. Bottom line: does the bullpen keep you in close games? Do they actually save games when the opportunity presents itself? On these central grounds, the Red bullpen is not getting the collective job done. This is why a year ago, in the close games that they tended to win, this year they fail to, or at least anecdotally it seems they don’t win nearly as many. This has been starkly revealed on the present road trip, particularly in San Francisco. Yet the trend has been there pretty much from the beginning of the year. I kept drawing the attention of one of my baseball friends to this inadequacy from very early in the year, and he kept responding, “But look at all those great ERAs!” Mostly meaningless. And I’ll parade out again one of my consistent arguments made before in other, slightly different contexts: we have entered a new age of pitching dominance. Every team has multiple bullpen arms with those same (or even better) sparkling ERAs who sometimes get the job done, sometimes not, but mostly better than the job done by the Reds’ bullpen. We rank down there with the Cubs and Astros. That is indeed a problem.

@maxblue — the Reds are 26-4 when leading after 7 innings…but 2-8 when tied after 7 innings. They are 4-3 in extras. As for the bullpen, they lead the league in innings pitched and four relievers are in the top 10 in appearances. They also lead the NL in walks. If the rotation does its job, the bullpen can be fresher to do its job better.

Agreed Mark, the guys that have struggled the most out of the pen are the guys that weren’t suppose to be counted on at all this year. Masset has had three bad games, Bray also, Cordero also, thats about it. Take out Fisher, Smith, Thompson, Maloney, and Chapman and the Reds bullpen has been doing very well. I for one am not worried about that part of the team.
Keep grasping for straws Denny. What happens when the bullpen turns it on? What are you going to have to complain about then? Dusty? That’s my bet.

Maybe you’ll prove right. If the starters do the job, maybe the bullpen results will improve. We can only hope. But one big caveat: all through the year, whether when fresh or when exhausted from overuse, the team bullpen saves as a percentage of save opportunities has consistently ranked at or near the bottom. To me, this is the key stat for assessing the overall bullpen, and it doesn’t overly focus on just the closer’s role..

Mark – Thanks for the info. Everything at this point in the season (late-early) is ‘wait and see.’ So that’s what I’ll do.

A curt reply to Curt: I don’t believe I’m grasping at straws; instead, I try to offer a diagnosis of why it might be that a team expected to do well is always hovering around the 500 mark, not to be a grumbler but because I fall into the unineviable category of concerned fan. As to Baker: he does indeed make decisions within games that confound me and many others. On the other hand, he does appear to be a gifted handler of player’s psyches, which is probably the key to his job. In addition, the club has managed improvement of one degree or another each year under his tutelage. So I won’t be taking any gratuitous swipes at him.

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