McCoy: Bullpen woes continue as Reds fall to Brewers

It’s the same sad song, it’s the same old story, it’s deja vu all over again, it’s a broken record.

Just when the Cincinnati Reds need its bullpen the most, it deflates like a punctured balloon.

And that was the case again Saturday night at Great American Ball Park when the bullpen gave another one away, an important 7-4 defeat in 11 innings to the Milwaukee Brewers. It pushed the Reds to six games behind the division-leading Brewers.

It was an act right out of Comedy Central for the Reds bullpen. Amir Garrett, Brad Brach, Josh Osich, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Hendrix all gave up runs. And each one appeared in only an inning or less.

Doolittle gave up three runs in only one-third of an inning, the decisive 11th when the Brewers broke a 4-4 tie.

Osich gave up a run in the top of the 10th, although the Reds were able to tie it in the bottom of the 10th.

The real meltdown was in the seventh.

Luis Castillo turned a 2-0 lead over to the bullpen in the seventh and it quickly evaporated under the deliveries of relief pitchers Garrett and Brach.

The Brewers put a ‘3’ on the board to take the lead and eventually outlasted the Reds for their second straight win in this three-game series.

Castillo put runners on base in each of the six innings he pitched and came off the mound clean each time.

The Brewers left one on in the first, one on in the second, one on in the third, two on in the fifth and two on in the sixth. They stranded eight and were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

Castillo held the Brewers to no runs, five hits (all singles), three walks and eight strikeouts. He had the Brewers ducking away from high inside fast balls and flailing wildly at low and away sliders.

And the Reds made the most of their two hits off Milwaukee All-Star pitcher Brandon Woodruff. They had only two hits and four walks against Woodruff in 5 2/3 innings.

They scored two gift runs in the second when Woodruff issued back-to-back one-out walks to Tyler Naquin and Eugenio Suarez after umpire Carlos Torres missed a strike three call.

Shogo Akiyama appeared to hit into an inning-ending double play, but second baseman Kolten Wong’s relay throw was high and skidded off first baseman Jace Peterson’s glove.

Naquin scored on the error and Kyle Farmer hit the first pitch after the error for a double to left, scoring Suarez for a 2-0 lead.

It stayed that way until Castillo left and Garrett arrived. Tyrone Taylor greeted Garrett with a single and Wong singled him to third.

Christian Yelich stubbed a slow roller up the first base line and Taylor scored while Yelich was thrown out at first.

Brach replaced Garrett and he had Willy Adames 0-and-2 when Adames singled to right to tie it, 2-2.Omar Narvaez blooped one to center and Akiyama made a diving catch, but Adames scored after the catch for a 3-2 lead.

And the Reds offense wasn’t fault-free. As it has done so often this season, it scored early but didn’t add on. They had only five hits in 11 innings.

Heavy rain interrupted play with two outs in the bottom of the seventh with pinch-hitter Tucker Barnhart at bat. When play resumed, Barnhart struck out.

Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen made his 2021 debut in the eighth. He struck out the first batter he faced, gave up a double and a walk, but escaped unscathed when he struck out Wong.

Normally, high velocity set-up man Devin Williams pitches the eighth for the Brewers, but he was placed on the 10-day injured list before the game. So manager Craig Counsell called on former Reds No. 1 draft pick Brad Boxberger.

And Jonathan India said hello with a game-tying home run down the left field line off the foul pole and it was 3-3. Boxberger was immediately removed with an injury and replaced by Cincinnati Moeller grad Brent Suter.

Lorenzen stayed in the game as an outfielder and was the ghost runner in the 10th. He scored on Tyler Stephenson’s sacrifice fly, but pulled up lame and could be headed back on the injured list.

The Reds had two runners on with two outs in the 11th, but the pitcher was due up and the Reds were out of position players. Manager David Bell sent pitcher Wade Miley up to pinch-hit and he grounded to second to end it.

The offense was somewhat hampered because Nick Castellanos was missing from the middle of the order, out with a swollen left hand after he was hit by a pitch Friday.

Three Reds were hit by pitches Friday, pushing their total hit-by-pitches to 70 times, the most in the majors.


“I guess that’s just pitchers understanding that the majority of our lineup has the ability to hit a baseball over the fence,” said Castellanos. “They don’t want to miss over the plate.”

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