Reds capitalize on excitement with truly bizarre call-ups

The long-suffering Reds franchise finally has something to get excited about, and then Cincinnati turns around and calls up two mediocre arms. What’s up with that?

The Cincinnati Reds are coming off two wins against the Dodgers and are slowly climbing up the NL Central. Their perennial rebuild is finally paying off as their prospects develop into bona fide major-leaguers and their core — Jonathan India, Nick Senzel, and others — is starting to gel.

Ranked in third in the division behind the Brewers and the Pirates, the Reds still have a long way to go before even thinking about contending in the postseason. Based on the team’s recent form, Cincinnati has every reason to be hopeful and optimistic.

That is, until the Reds made two very bizarre moves.

On Friday, the team announced that they were calling up Ricky Karcher and Joel Kuhnel to pad its bullpen. Out of all the options, the Reds pick those two guys?

Reds call up relievers Ricky Karcher and Joel Kuhnel from Triple-A

Karcher has enjoyed a streak of good form lately, though he’s still struggled to maintain consistency at the plate. The right-hander was added to the roster in November and has given up 23 earned runs in 22.1 innings with Louisville. Karcher’s 9.27 ERA is pretty ugly, causing many fans to scratch their heads wondering what Cincinnati plans to do with such an unreliable arm.

Fellow reliever Joel Kuhnel suffered a terrible first outing with the Reds against the Cubs on April 4 in which he allowed three runs on five hits in 2.0 innings. Cincinnati immediately optioned him to Triple-A, where he’s had only marginally better success: he owns a 7.13 ERA and has allowed 31 hits in 24.0 innings. In Kuhnel’s last seven appearances, he’s posted an ERA of 4.50 and recorded four walks and seven strikeouts.

The one time in the season the Reds are picking up steam, and Cincinnati chooses two very mediocre relievers to keep the hype train chugging along. Even if the team badly needed arms, it’s just a very perplexing decision.

When the Reds kick off their series against the Cardinals tonight, fans will be intrigued, to say the least, to see whether Karcher or Kuhnel make an appearance.


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