MILWAUKEE -- Cincinnati's bullpen knows it has struggled this season. Fourteen different pitchers have been used, but one absence has stood out.
Triple-A reliever Ryan Wagner, who was on the cusp of making the big-league team out of Spring Training, has struggled in Louisville. Wagner had appeared with the Reds during the last two seasons with the Reds and now sports a 6.56 ERA in 33 games for the Bats.
"They just said he's been very inconsistent," said Reds manager Jerry Narron.
Wagner took the loss for Louisville on Monday in a game that mirrored the Reds' loss to the Brewers. Wagner entered the game against Columbus with a 7-6 lead and allowed a game-winning single in an 8-7 loss. He was charged with two runs on four hits and took his third loss of the season.
Wagner hasn't shined in his 108 games of Major League service. His ERA with the Reds is 4.69. But given the struggles of the Reds bullpen, which blew its 13th save of the season on Monday, any improvement with Louisville could mean a promotion to the Majors.
"I don't think it's any secret that if he does anything at all there, he'd be here," Narron said. "When you're on a 40-man roster, with the way things are going, it's either because of age or you're not getting it done where you are. It's not age; he's just not getting it done where he's at."
In the meantime, the bullpen continues to try to search for answers. Monday's blown save raised the relievers' ERA to 5.32, last in the National League.
"That's the way it goes sometimes," said closer Todd Coffey. "We've seen a lot of that lately
Doesn't look like this bullpen is going to get well anytime soon unless a trade is made.