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Does Danny Darwin deserve the credit for Reds’ pitching improvements?

The Cincinnati Reds seem to be righting the ship after a horrible first month in the 2018 season. The Reds fired Brian Price last month and promoted Jim Riggleman. Cincinnati also brought in a new pitching coach with Danny Darwin coming up from Double-A Pensacola. The moves happened a little over twenty games ago and the Reds are finally showing some life this season. Especially from the pitching staff. Riggleman may get the credit for the Reds finally putting a few wins together in a row, but the credit also has to be given to Darwin

Before the past few games, Cincinnati has been dead last in MLB team pitching. But things are getting better. They’ve moved up five spots and the entire pitching staff looks totally different than they did the first few weeks of the season. Cincinnati has now won six straight games and the pitching staff is giving up an average of two runs per game in this stretch. Three starters have earned wins. Matt Harvey pitched a solid four innings in his first start since being traded from the Mets. The arms are starting to come around and Darwin is the man that is responsible for it.

Pensacola finished second in team pitching in the Southern League the past two seasons under Darwin. His guidance helped the Blue Wahoos snag a share of the Southern League Championship in 2017. Darwin used his 21 years of MLB pitching experience to teach the young pitchers consistency. He’s been credited for his developmental work, but now he’s in the show. And it’s being proven currently that he can run an MLB pitching staff.

When you look at the improvement among both starters and the bullpen, something has certainly fallen right for Cincinnati. It’s like someone flipped a switch and that person was Darwin. Sal Romano has a 2.05 era since Darwin came aboard compared to a 5.75 era before the change. Luis Castillo has put together a pair of solid outings recently. Rookie Tyler Mahle has also shown improvement. With three pitchers doing better and Matt Harvey showing promise, the Reds are starting to heat up. Even the bullpen is producing better with Danny Darwin. Closer Raisel Iglesias hasn’t given up a single run in his last seven games and opponents are batting .130 against him in that time frame. Jared Hughes and Amir Garrett have also been lights out as relievers.

Sal Romano, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle Cincinnati Reds

Sal Romano, Luis Castillo, and Tyler Mahle worked with Danny Darwin at Pensacola and have developed a good relationship with the coach.

Is it a coincidence that they’re pitching better under Darwin? Not hardly. He’s seeing things from a different angle than what Mack Jenkins did. He’s also taking a different approach to improving both the rotation and bullpen.

The performance of the pitching staff didn’t change overnight though. Again, Darwin had his own way to determine what changes needed to be made. Instead of just coming in and barking orders and forcing the pitchers to make changes, Darwin took more of an observatory approach at the start. After seeing what had to be done, he then took action. That’s why the Reds have improved significantly since the start of May. It’s doubtful that Cincinnati can keep up their current pace, but it shows that having Danny Darwin on the staff could help this team get out of the cellar. Check out our team pages for more Cincinnati Reds news and stats.