"I feel really comfortable with this role that I have right now," said Iglesias via translator Julio Morillo. "It's what I've been doing since I've been in professional baseball, it was in the bullpen."
Iglesias replaced starter Anthony DeSclafani in the seventh inning of a 1-1 game and allowed one hit with five strikeouts. He retired seven in a row until Alexi Amarista's one-out single in the ninth. An Iglesias error pickoff throw sent Amarista to third base and forced Iglesias to pitch with the game on the line.
"After that throw, I focused 100 percent on working as hard as I can to get the people out and keep the zeroes on the score," Iglesias said.
Danger was dodged impressively. Jose Rondon was struck out swinging at a nasty 86 mph slider that dove away before Derek Norris grounded out softly near the mound.
"Especially this ninth inning I threw today, it was one of the best of my career," Iglesias said. "I feel really good. I made my pitches. Everything I want to throw is really working. My slider, fastball, everything is really working and I feel really good about it."
Iglesias, who was the Reds Opening Day starter, was on the disabled list from May 1-June 20 with a right shoulder impingement -- his second shoulder injury in less than a year. Moving him to the bullpen was a decision made for arm preservation, but it's been essential to helping Reds relievers turn things around.
In 12 games since his activation from the DL, Iglesias has a 0.38 ERA with 10 of the appearances being two or more innings. While the Reds bullpen still has the highest ERA in baseball at 5.30, it has a 2.13 ERA in 19 games since July 5. Iglesias, along with Michael Lorenzen, have helped manager Bryan Price keep other relievers fresher and by virtue, more effective, because they can work well in multiple innings.
One downside for Iglesias, he's likely not available the day after he throws multiple innings because the Reds want to be protective. But when he's in, he's full power with higher fastball velocity that routinely reaches 95-96 mph.
"His competitiveness, that's all things that we've seen. Now we're seeing it out of the bullpen with a lot more effort, a lot more stuff simply because he doesn't have to keep things in reserve to have to manage potentially a seven-to-nine-inning game," Price said.
"He's coming right after you if it's one pitch, as it was in San Francisco [Wednesday], or if it's three really good innings here in San Diego. I like a lot of what I see with Raisel. He's made a big difference in our ability to shut down teams late in the game."