CINCINNATI -- Without defining roles and not being afraid to use any reliever in any scenario, Reds manager Bryan Price has taken bullpen management to a different level this season. He has often been rewarded.But in games like Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Yankees, in which Michael Lorenzen and Raisel
CINCINNATI -- Without defining roles and not being afraid to use any reliever in any scenario, Reds manager Bryan Price has taken bullpen management to a different level this season. He has often been rewarded.
But in games like Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Yankees, in which Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias combined for the final four scoreless innings, Price didn't feel like he had many buttons to press.
"Take this as it is, but you don't have to manage as much when those two guys are in the game. You don't have to think so much about left-right [matchups]," Price said.
Reds starter Tim Adleman gave way after five innings and 83 pitches with more left in the tank. With an off-day coming on Wednesday, Adleman had a feeling Price would be aggressive in using his relievers. Both Lorenzen and Iglesias last pitched on Thursday and were fresh.
"In the back of my mind, I knew there were some guys in the 'pen I figured Bryan would probably want to get some work for," Adleman said. "It didn't change my approach. It just happened that today was a good day to have those guys locked and ready for a couple innings. They picked me up, and it was a great team win."
A season ago, letting Cincinnati's bullpen near a two-run lead with four innings to go might have resulted in a debacle. Reds relievers led the Majors last season in homers allowed, walks and had the second-worst ERA.
This year's bullpen is not that bullpen. Reds relievers have a 3.26 ERA, which is third-best in the National League, despite having the most innings pitched backing up an often struggling rotation.
Lorenzen and Iglesias have been the backbone of the operation.
"Since last year, the second half was really good. This year, we're even better," Iglesias said through translator Julio Morillo. "When I came back last year in the bullpen role with Lorenzen and the other guys, I think we've been doing a really good job, and I think we're going to do great this year."
Lorenzen picked up two quick outs in the sixth but encountered danger by walking Aaron Judge, allowing a Didi Gregorius single and throwing a wild pitch to Chris Carter before walking him, but he escaped the bases-loaded jam. He also delivered a one-out walk to Brett Gardner and a wild pitch in the seventh.
Iglesias gave up a one-out single to Judge in the eighth and escaped before issuing back-to-back one-out walks in the ninth. It took a nice play by third baseman Eugenio Suarez to glove a Gary Sanchez hard line drive and get the game-ending double play with a throw to second base. Sanchez represented the go-ahead run.
"They're at the point in time in their young careers where I'm really comfortable to allow them to pitch out of their own jams, unless they really look like they're out of sorts on a particular day," Price said. "Once I got Michael in there, I felt really confident he'd be in there for the two innings and that he would do well. The same thing with Raisel."
Iglesias has a 0.98 ERA in 12 appearances, and four of his six saves were more than one-inning efforts. Lorenzen has a 3.72 ERA in 14 games, but has a perfect three-inning outing on his ledger and has thrown two innings four times this season.
"Whatever the manager asks me to do, I will do it," Iglesias said. "If it's one inning, two innings, I don't care. I'm just going to go there and do my best, and I'm going to help the team to win."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.