MILWAUKEE -- The Reds' bullpen has been lights out of late, holding opponents scoreless for 18 consecutive innings until Friday's 7-6 walk-off loss to the Brewers.
Manager Dusty Baker attributes the streak to the dominance of the Reds' starting pitchers.
"It's happened because, No. 1, the starting pitching's been great," Baker said. "And that makes it so that guys aren't over-pitched. We can match up with who we want to versus who is the most rested.
"Knock on wood, we're not walking people. They're doing the job, they're feeling good as a unit. The guys are very confident."
Cincinnati's bullpen had made five striaght consecutive scoreless appearances entering Friday's game against Milwaukee and had not walked a batter in four games. Alfredo Simon walked the first batter he faced after taking over for starter Mike Leake, then allowed an RBI single after recording two outs. Manny Parra and J.J. Hoover bridged the gap to Aroldis Chapman, but the hard-throwing lefty served up a walk-off home run to Jonathan Lucroy for his fifth blown save of the season.
The Reds are still without left-handed reliever Sean Marshall, who is rehabbing back from a left shoulder injury, but Jonathan Broxton returned to the bullpen last week from a nearly two-month stint on the disabled list due to a strain in his right elbow.
"It feels great to get Broxton back, because that was a big piece at the end there," Baker said. "Now we've got not only a setup man, but a potential closer when [Aroldis] Chapman ... we've really monitored Chapman and the guys in the bullpen so they'll be strong down the stretch and healthy."
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less