For the second day in a row, a pitcher whom the Cincinnati Reds will help them fill holes or shore up weaknesses on their pitching staff in 2015 struggled against the Cleveland Indians. A day after Raisel Iglesias gave up two runs and took the loss, reliever Burke Badenhop on Thursday was shellacked for five runs in two-thirds of an inning, also picking up the loss.
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After struggling with their middle relief corps during 2014, the Reds signed Badenhop to a one-year $2-million free agent contract on February 7 with hopes that he could repeat his 2.29 ERA over 70 innings with the Boston Red Sox last season. The contract contains a $4-million mutual option for 2016, or a $1.5-million buyout.
For the Reds, Badenhop’s debut looked like so many of their middle-innings adventures from a year ago.
Handed the ball in the fifth inning with a 1-0 lead, Badenhop proceeded to give up a walk and five hits, including a two-run single to Jose Ramirez and a two-run home run to Yan Gomez.
Reds’ manager Bryan Price pinned some of the blame on Cincinnati’s defense:
"Badenhop throws strikes. We didn’t turn a double play and the wheels fell off."
On the bright side, would-be Cy Young winner — if Clayton Kershaw did not exist — Johnny Cueto started the game off with two scoreless innings that included just one hit and two strikeouts.
One bad outing won’t make the Reds give up on Badenhop, but they’ll need him to knock off the rust soon if they hope to feel good about their relief corps as Opening Day nears.