Reds bullpen ranks among best in baseball in first month

Garrett putting up best numbers among improved group of relievers

Amir Garrett pitched to one batter Tuesday, inducing an inning-ending groundout from Ender Inciarte to strand Dansby Swanson at third base in the eighth inning. The short performance helped the Cincinnati Reds preserve their lead in an eventual 7-6 victory against the Atlanta Braves.

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Garrett pumped his fist and shouted in celebration as he left the mound. He’s always been that fiery guy, he said, and nobody will ever change him.

“With any sport I ever played growing up, that was me,” he said Thursday. “Nobody will tell me how I can and can’t act because that’s when I’m at my best when I’m like that. That’s going to always be with me no matter what.”

Garrett, who has allowed one earned run in 11 innings and threw two scoreless innings Wednesday in a 3-1 loss to the Braves, has reason to be excited in the first month of the season. The bullpen as a whole can be proud of its performance, too.

Through Wednesday, though the Reds owned the second-worst record (9-14) in the National League, the team’s relievers owned the second-best ERA (3.28) in the league and the third best in baseball, trailing only the San Francisco Giants (2.48) and Houston Astros (2.96).

While manager David Bell was not aware Thursday of where his bullpen ranked in ERA, he said coming out of spring training, “I really felt great about our bullpen, not only the guys that have been here but the additions and the depth that created and being able to use guys in roles that would help them succeed. I felt really good about addition of Zach Duke because I had been around him in the past and (know) what he can do for a bullpen. I had seen the young arms in this bullpen for a few years, and I felt they were just right on the brink. A lot of that has happened so far. They’ve done a great job. They’ve picked up games right where our starters have left off. It’s been a really good team effort by our pitching staff.”

Garrett leads the group in appearances (13) and ERA (0.82). Wandy Peralta has a 1.13 ERA in eight innings. Michael Lorenzen has thrown 10 2/3 innings and owns a 1.69 ERA. Robert Stephenson (2.08) and David Hernandez (2.79) also have ERAs under 3.00 while making double-digit appearances.

While Raisel Iglesias (4.22), Jared Hughes (6.52) and Duke (9.00) have seen their ERAs climb since last year, the bullpen as a whole has lowered its ERA by almost a full point. It ranked ninth in the National League with a 4.14 ERA last season.

“I feel this group of guys, we have an understanding of what we want to do,” Garrett said. “We always talk about being for each other, being for the pitcher who was out there before us. I feel we are very unselfish. We want to do for the person in front of us.”


Reds at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

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