The last couple of nights, you really can’t put the full blame of 30 runs given up to the Giants on the relievers, but the bullpen is a piece that does need some serious help. Unfortunately, Cincinnati has only themselves to blame.

At the trading deadline, they failed to make a move to get some relief help and instead chose to sign a pair of long time veterans (who had been out of baseball for some time). The hope was that Jason Isringhausen and Russ Springer would shake off the rust in the minors and be up to par once the regular season stretch drive hit high gear.

I don’t know how many of you have noticed, but both of them…BOTH….are done for the year before ever putting on a Reds uniform. The following are segments of the Reds Team Report from Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday: “RHP Jason Isringhausen shut it down at Class AAA Louisville. He is done for the year after having a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.”

..and not to be outdone..

RHP Russ Springer had surgery Monday for a herniated disk. He is done for the season.”

This was disappointing more in the fact that the Reds have not been able to make waves to assist the relieving core. Their current in-house moves have not worked out well at all. An example of that would be former starter Mike Leake, who gave up six runs on six hits in one inning Tuesday in San Francisco. He has allowed eight runs in 3 1/3 innings since being moved to the bullpen.

As a result, Cincinnati is discussing whether to shut him down to avoid putting some major hurt on the rookie. The 22-year-old was 8-4 with a 3.78 ERA as a starter, but his ERA has risen to 4.21 in just two relief outings.

Reliever Jordan Smith has been sent down to Class AAA Louisville after giving up home runs in three of his last four outings, though he is expected back when roster expansions take place in September. That’s not encouraging.

Former starter Micah Owings, for whom Cincinnati could find no room, will be free to sign with anyone he pleases after August 26th. The Reds have been unable to make a deal in an effort to get something in return for his departure but have not been successful. An absolute shame, I say. He may not have liked it, but moving him to the bullpen for the rest of the season could have helped with the revolving middle reliever door. Instead, it looks like he’s just going to move on.

Cincinnati has even recalled Sam Lecure from Louisville to see if he can be the band aid the bullpen is in need of, and, on Tuesday, he gave up three runs in three innings against the Giants. Compared to how the rest of the staff performed during that game, he might have as well have been Cy Young. As a starter for the Reds earlier this year, he was 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA.

It is really, really hard to complain about what the Reds have not done, or should have done this year because everything (up till now) has clicked and worked itself out. It is quite possible this relief disaster spell will as well, but if Cincinnati plans to continue their stay atop the National League Central, something has to be done.

Yes, Aroldis Chapman will be making his way to Cincinnati and will be in a Reds uniform on September 1st. Cincinnati plays the final of a three-game set with the Brewers on this day, but two days later is the final regular season series with the hard charging St. Louis Cardinals. The problem is that we are not sure how Chapman will work. He could be awesome, he could be adequate, or he could be gasoline on a grass bonfire.

The Reds need a plan B in case Chapman isn’t up to speed. That plan does not have to be have to be drastic and could be an in-house move, but I’m not sure there are too many in-house options they can fall back on.

September is less than a week away, and the time on making this a real season is ticking. I believe the Reds have the “IT” factor to make that happen. They just have to make the decisions and moves to make that a reality.

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