Monday, June 24, 2019
Puig in a Poke
The Reds are in fourth place! The Reds are in-
[murmuring from an assistant]
...The Reds are TIED for fourth place!
It's been an intriguing last week or so, but the Pirates have reclaimed a bit of momentum and have tied with the Reds for the all-important last place spot. And...honestly, it makes sense. Both teams are good enough to be within 4 games of .500, but are flawed enough to be in last. Yet, both teams have the best record of any last place team in baseball, and are still within 5.5 games of first place, because that's how weird the NL Central is this year.
So, what's working for Cincinnati right now? In a word...Puig. Yasiel Puig has had a one-dimensional year so far for the Reds, hitting a ton of homers and...little else. But things are beginning to turn around, as his WAR has reached a season high 0.7, his average is now sitting at .240, leaving behind Jose Peraza and Tucker Barnhart with averages close to the Mendoza line, and tying the team-high mark of 16 home runs with fellow slugger Eugenio Suarez. He's not a completely immaculate player, but...Puig never was one of those with LA. He was always insanely streaky, and that's exactly what he is now; he hits home runs, he's flashy as hell, and you just hope he's in one of his better moods.
It also helps that the other members of the Homer Bailey trade are beginning to adjust to life in Cincy as well. Kyle Farmer is hitting .240 off the bench, and Alex Wood is slowly inching towards his first start as a Red. It is kind of odd to talk about promoting a healthy starter when you look at this rotation and see that it's stayed almost completely intact since the beginning of the year. It's looking like Desclafani might be bumped to the bullpen when Wood is brought up...unless the Reds pull a fast one and make Wood the reliever. That'll be interesting.
Still, not much else has gone horribly wrong since last check-in. Nobody in the bullpen has an ERA higher than 5, nobody in the rotation has less than 75 strikeouts, and only Tucker Barnhart has been a disappointment in the lineup (though Curt Casali is an astounding backup). This is a fairly decent team that could potentially inch their way closer to the action. And I'm excited to see what they do next.
Coming Tomorrow- Only the most ubiquitous name in baseball.