The Cincinnati Reds have been dominant at home thus far. They have won every series at home, and have a chance to distance themselves from the rest of the division with another home series against the Diamondbacks beginning on Tuesday night.
The Reds lost the series on the road against the Diamondbacks earlier this season. They will look to avenge those losses back in the Queen City starting on Tuesday. But they will be without star outfielder Nick Castellanos, after he lost his appeal to his two-game suspension. The suspension is ludicrous, because the MLB needs players to show emotion to regain popularity, but nevertheless, they will be without him for their next two games.
Castellanos leads the Reds in hits and runs scored, and this will be a major blow to their offense. Luckily, they have extraordinary depth in the outfield. This will allow Tyler Naquin to potentially take over in Right Field for the next two games. Naquin just so happens to lead the team in home runs and runs batted in, so the Reds should be in good hands.
Return of Sonny Gray Will Help Keep Reds in First
The Reds began their season without their star starting pitcher Sonny Gray. In Gray’s first start on April 17, he looked good, but rusty after coming off a strained back. He showed flashes that made him the opening day pitcher in 2020. As Gray continues to get comfortable on the mound, along with Castillo hopefully regaining his rhythm, the Reds won’t have to rely on their offense as much.
In Gray’s first start, he struck out six in 4.1 innings, and gave up six hits and two earned runs. Not a bad showing at all, but he is more than capable of being dominant and will begin to go deeper into games as he gets healthier.
Joey Votto Looks Like the Former MVP Again for the Reds
First Baseman, Joey Votto, struggled to begin the season, which he normally does. Over the series win against the Indians, he reached base nine times in their three home games. Votto is making clutch hits and, at 37 years old, he is showing he can be dominant when the team needs him to be. He currently has a batting average of .267, to go along with three homers and 10 runs batted in through 15 games.
He is the leader in the clubhouse and, if he can continue his hot streak at the plate, the sky is the limit for the Reds. Their offense has dropped off somewhat, but they still sit at third in the MLB in runs scored, with 91. That type of production, coupled with the return of Gray, can carry this team to win the division.
The season is still young and there are lots of moving parts in the grueling schedule of the MLB, whether it’s trades or injuries, but this team has shown what they are capable of. They continue to show emotion and passion, and have hitters all over the field. Their starting pitching could use an upgrade, and Gray should provide that if he stays healthy.
Tough Schedule Ahead for the Reds
Pulling off the sweep against the struggling Diamondbacks would be huge for the Reds moving forward. Considering their road struggles, and that they have to travel to take on the Cardinals and Dodgers next, they need to get some momentum again.
After those two roads series, they will take on the Cubs at home. The Cubs are having a tough time swinging the bat, but taking on the division rival Cubs is always a battle. The Reds have been atop the NL Central for the majority of the season, and winning a series on the road against the Cardinals or Dodgers would build their confidence tremendously.