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NL Central Notes: Reds' bullpen futility, Pittsburgh extends Cervelli

Cincinnati relievers have struggled mightily this season, and other happenings around the National League Central Division.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds are in the midst of a difficult season. They're in last place in the NL Central and there doesn't appear to be any reason to be optimistic the rest of the way.

There's plenty of blame to go around, but the majority of which should fall upon their bullpen. They've been bad. Historically bad.

After Steve Delabar issued four straight walks with the bases loaded on Tuesday night, Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated delved into just how poor Cincinnati's relievers have been. The Reds' bullpen's collective 6.46 ERA is the worst in the majors since 1950.

The club was clearly entering a rebuilding year, and the Reds knew this unit wouldn't be as strong after trading away all-star closer Aroldis Chapman in the offseason. But J.J. Hoover, who began the season as the closer, was quickly sent to Triple-A after allowing six homers in 10.2 innings.

Cincinnati relievers also have a walk rate of 5.18 per nine innings, which is last in the majors and the 35th worst since 1913.

There isn't much the Reds can do to solve the problem at the moment, Jaffe notes. The team shouldn't leverage future assets for short-term help as it would detract from their rebuilding plan.

One option would be to fire manager Bryan Price to appease the frustrated fan base. There's little to suggest making a move like this would have any real on-field impact this season, but the late innings certainly can't get much worse.

Here's more news surrounding the NL Central:

  • Pittsburgh reached an agreement on a three-year extension for catcher Francisco Cervelli. The 30-year-old is in his second season with the Pirates and is a career .284 hitter.
  • Johnny Peralta began his way back from a torn thumb ligament, as he began a rehab assignment on Friday. He may not be given the everyday shortstop role in St. Louis upon his return, however, as Aledmys Diaz has filled in admirably.
  • Less than a year after dealing outfielder Carlos Gomez to Houston, the trade is already looking very lopsided in the Brewers' favor. Gomez is hitting .182 this season and is currently on the disabled list.