Ondrusek struggling out of 'pen recently

Ondrusek struggling out of 'pen recently

HOUSTON -- It hasn't been a great week for Reds reliever Logan Ondrusek.

Ondrusek took the loss in Monday's 4-3 defeat in 10 innings to the Astros when he gave up two hits and the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice play at the plate. Over his last five appearances entering Tuesday, he allowed four earned runs and eight hits over 3 1/3 innings.

This season, Ondrusek already has 54 appearances -- tied for third in the National League. He had 74 last season between the big leagues and Triple-A. Could Ondrusek be wearing down from heavy use?

"I don't think he's wearing out as much as he's getting the ball up," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "They're first-ball hitting a lot off of him. These guys, they study you. They have reports like we have reports. He got the ball up on [Humberto] Quintero last night. On the hit and run, he got the ball up on [Angel] Sanchez. He made a good pitch on [Jose] Altuve."

Overall, Ondrusek is 4-4 with a 2.15 ERA. Before the rough patch, he had an 11-appearance, 8 2/3 innings scoreless streak.

"Nobody goes the whole year without getting hit. He's trying to," Baker said.

Baker often takes heat for how he uses his bullpen, and leaving his starters in too long. But besides Ondrusek, Bill Bray (56 games) and Nick Masset (54) are in the top 10 in appearances this season.

"You can't have it both ways. There are people who say we use our bullpen too much," Baker said. "How many quality starts do we have outside of [Johnny] Cueto? There are times you have to stretch them out to get to a certain point for the bullpen. It starts with the starting pitching. It's easy to say after the fact. There are times we know it's questionable.

"We're hoping we have the bottom of the lineup or the pitcher is coming up first or second the next inning. A lot depends on where their lineup rolls around to. A lot of our guys in that bullpen -- you can't kill them."