For all of the negative comments that we can make about the 2020 Cincinnati Reds season, you absolutely have to start by praising the starting pitching. Coming into the season with a lot of hype, the rotation definitely lived up to expectations.
As a unit, the starting pitching staff finished the season with an Earned Run Average of 3.39 over the course of 324 1/3 innings pitched. They also led the National League for the most strikeouts by whiffing 381 batters in the regular season.
Trevor Bauer ended up leading the charge by finishing the season 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA. He also pitched 7 2/3 innings in Game One of the National League Wild Card Series allowing just two hits and no runs while striking out 12. The NL Cy Young favorite was second in Major League Baseball in ERA and third in Strikeouts.
Luis Castillo bounced back from a 0-5 start to the season to finish 4-6 with a 3.21 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 70 innings pitched. Castillo won four consecutive starts in the month of September, including a two-hit complete game. He finished tied for 12th in MLB in strikeouts and had the 19th best ERA. In the playoffs, Castillo threw 5 1/3 innings of one run, six hit baseball but suffered the loss the in the season-deciding game to the Atlanta Braves.
Reds Opening Day starter Sonny Gray was a consistent presence throughout the season apart from a two early September starts before a stint on the Injured List. Gray finished up with a 5-3 record and a 3.70 ERA while striking out 72 batters in 56 innings.
Anthony DeSclafani and Wade Miley were expected to anchor the starting rotation this season, and Disco did find some success early on, but Tyler Mahle ended up emerging as a de facto fourth starter. Mahle finished the year with nine starts on the mound going 2-2 with a 3.59 ERA. In the month of September his ERA was just 3.28.
Others like Tejay Antone (four starts) and Michael Lorenzen (two starts) stepped up to deliver excellent outings at different points of the year as well.
The primary offseason story line for the entire club will be the potential signing of Trevor Bauer, but regardless of what he decides to do the starting pitching rotation should be in excellent shape as we enter the 2021 season.
The 2020 season really couldn’t have gotten off to a much worse start for the Cincinnati Reds bullpen. However, they really turned things around after the first 20 games or so and down the stretch to the playoffs they were one of the best units in Major League Baseball.
In the last 14 games of the regular season the bullpen posted a 2.64 Earned Run Average and a 6-1 record. Opponents hit just .183 against the Reds relievers.
In the two postseason games against the Atlanta Braves the bullpen was excellent until two Home Runs allowed by Raisel Iglesias put four runs on the board. In their 1-0 13 inning loss in Game One the relievers combined to allow just one run in 4 2/3 innings of work. They struck out nine batters and gave up only four hits in that time.
Bouncing in between a starting and relief role, Rookie Tejay Antone proved to be one of the most reliable arms posting a 1.89 ERA in 19 relief innings across 9 appearances. Opponents hit just .097 against him when throwing in relief.
Archie Bradley was a midseason acquisition from the Arizona Diamondbacks and pitched five scoreless appearances to begin his career in Cincinnati.
Left-hander Amir Garrett allowed just one hit in 23 at-bats against lefties and finished the season 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 21 appearances.
After a truly terrible beginning of the season, Michael Lorenzen reverted back to his reliable ways in relief. He threw 24 innings in relief with a 4.88 ERA, but most of those runs came in the first ten or so games of the season. Including his two late season starts, Lorenzen posted a 1.91 ERA over 28 1/3 innings pitched.
Lucas Sims was probably the most consistent arm in the bullpen from the beginning of the season until the end. He didn’t allow a run in 6 2/3 innings across four appearances at the end of the season to finish with a 3-0 record and a 2.45 ERA.
Closer Raisel Iglesias didn’t allow a run in his final eight appearances, scattering just two hits while striking out 12 in 8 1/3 innings. Iglesias recorded 8 saves and had a 2.74 ERA.