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Raisel Iglesias: ‘The way [the Reds] are using me is horribly wrong’

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Reds closer Raisel Iglesias has had a frustrating year. After serving up a tie-breaking two-run home run to Brandon Crawford in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Giants, Iglesias owns a 4.86 ERA with two blown saves and five losses.

While Iglesias admits he hasn’t pitched well, he also blames the way the Reds have been using him as a contributing factor for his struggles. Per Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Iglesias said, “You can see the other closers, they don’t pitch in tie games. I’m the only one who comes in tie games and I’ve given up homers and I’m losing some games. I feel really bad.”

Iglesias added, “The way they are using me is horribly wrong.” He elaborated, saying, “The closer comes in to finish the ballgames. I’ve been coming into tie games on the road. I get it. There are situations that the team needs me.”

As Nightengale points out, Iglesias indeed has disparate results in save situations versus non-save situations. He has a 3.86 ERA with 15 strikeouts and five walks in 9 1/3 innings coming in save situations. In 7 1/3 innings in non-save situations, Iglesias holds a 6.14 ERA with 11 strikeouts and two walks.

While it is true that those are small samples, Iglesias is a full run better in save situations over his career as well, with 110 1/3 innings coming in save situations (2.12 ERA) and 107 1/3 innings in non-save situations (3.10 ERA). Perhaps the implied stress of a save situation motivates Iglesias or helps him concentrate better.

That being said, laying the blame on manager David Bell feels like a cop-out. Managers refusing to use their closers in non-save situations is an old-school belief and has mostly been eradicated in today’s game. Other relievers have figured out how to perform just as well in non-save situations. If they can, so too can Iglesias.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.