CINCINNATI -- There’s sort of a baseball version of the Hippocratic Oath with developing pitchers: First, do no harm.
It’s come to the point for the Reds that if bringing up their top prospects to fix the bullpen won’t harm them, the club has to consider it.
Because just when you think it can’t get any worse for the bullpen, it does.
Ross Ohlendorf, one of the guys brought in to patch the relief corps, took the loss for the second straight day. Ohlendorf was an out away from getting the game to the bottom of the eighth tied at 1-1 when he gave up a first-pitch home run to Trevor Story.
Then things got ugly. Olhendorf allowed the next two hitters to reach.
In came Jumbo Diaz. Out went a home run off the bat of Ben Paulsen.
And it was a 5-1 game. And it was over.
The Reds are 1-6 since their 5-1 start.
Rebuilding is a messy business. I think Reds fans have bought into it for the most part. In fact, a lot of people have told me they’re excited about this team because of the young players.
The problem is, to see the young players, you’ve got to go to Louisville. Ohlendorf is 34. Diaz is 32. Tuesday’s starting pitcher, Alfredo Simon, is 34.
Reds manager Bryan Price said all the right things to reporters after the game about his relievers:
“We’re trying to get them feeling good about themselves.”
“We believe in them.”
He talked about the difficultly without defined roles, other than closer J.J. Hoover.
I watched the game from my couch, so I saw all those tight shots from Fox Sports Ohio of Price while the game unraveled. He had the look of a manager thinking: Who in the name of Pedro Borbon am I going to try next?
CEO Bob Castellini signed off on this rebuild, but Castellini is not a patient man. Losses like Sunday’s and Monday’s pain him greatly.
That’s why I would not be surprised to see some of the young arms up here soon. No. 1 prospect Robert Stephenson held his own in his one start for the Reds and pitched well in one start for the Triple-A Louisville Bats. No. 2 Cody Reed pitched well in his only start for Louisville. But he’s apparently dealing with a cut on his finger.
There are others to consider. Again, if the Reds think they can bring them up without harming their development, why not?
It can’t get any worse, right? Well, I guess it did Monday.
John Fay is freelance sports columnist. This column represents his opinion.