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Reds arms focus on their duty over run support

September 22, 2018

MIAMI -- It's baffling how good the Reds starting pitching has been lately in a time when the team has struggled so mightily with scoring runs.Over the last eight games, Reds starters have turned in scoreless outings in five of those games, and they have allowed one run in another.

MIAMI -- It's baffling how good the Reds starting pitching has been lately in a time when the team has struggled so mightily with scoring runs.
Over the last eight games, Reds starters have turned in scoreless outings in five of those games, and they have allowed one run in another. But in that span the Reds are only 3-5. That's because they've been shut out themselves in four of the last seven games.
That would seem to be enough to drive a pitching staff up a clubhouse wall, and yet it hasn't, nor has it given manager Jim Riggleman cause for concern.
"I never believe in that," Riggleman said. "I hear it all the time, it's more pressure on the starters. This game is so individually driven statistically. Guys are out there trying to minimize runs as much as they can. Hitters are trying to get hits as much as they can.
"It's a team effort, but that pitcher vs. hitter battle is very individualistic and I don't think pitchers are making their pitches in the third or fourth inning going, 'Well, we're not scoring many runs, I can't make a mistake here.'"
Riggleman said in his opinion, pitchers are much more forward-thinking than that.
"They feel like, 'I've got to get these guys out. I've got to impress the organization that I belong here, that I'm making progress. I always think there's that pressure. But I don't think it falls into the category of, 'We're going to lose this game if I give up a run here because we haven't been scoring much.'"
Reds starter Cody Reed, who has thrown consecutive scoreless outings, concurred. His focus does not drift away from the job he has to do on the mound.
"When I go out there, I just try to put up zeros," Reed said. "Runs will come. I think we have a really, really good hitting team. We have Joey Votto on our team. And we have Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez. Those guys are up in the league leadings in a lot of things. Runs will come.
"I think for pitchers, especially starters, we just want to put up zeros as long as we're out there. I know relievers want to do the same thing."
This is a team that Reed said would more times than not, produce plenty of offense.
"I think we're going to be just fine," Reed said. "We've got the guys on the team to score some runs. Jose Peraza is swinging the bat really well. Everyone is, really, so all in all I think we're going to be just fine."
Besides, wins and losses have become secondary to other pitching stats.
"You look at [Luis Castillo], he has a losing record [10-12], which is crazy," Reed noted. "When he's throwing in the 90s all the way to the ninth inning, people probably wonder how he has a losing record.
"Stuff like that happens. Sometimes we get shut out; sometimes we've scored double digit runs. I don't worry about it. I just go out and do my job. And I think everyone else is trying to do theirs. Once it all comes together, I think the wins will come."
Riggleman isn't on board, however, with discarding a pitcher's win-loss record.
"It's an indictment on the game, that wins and losses for pitchers, they don't value [that]," Riggleman said. "Pitchers are much more interested in a lot of other numbers other than what's in the W column.
"Now they're good teammates. They want to pitch well and win this game. But when they go to the contract table, they know that it's going to be a lot of other things affect their contract more so than the win and loss [record]."
It's just how the game has evolved, Riggleman said.
"I get it, the win and loss is out of the pitcher's hand a lot, but it's still to me has a lot of meaning -- how many games you win as a pitcher," he said. "It's just a different era."

*Glenn Sattell *is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.