Monday, May 27, 2024

Steer Clear


It's been very upsetting to see two of last year's most exciting wild card competitors, the Reds and Marlins, in last this season. And the good news is you're beginning to see the Reds pick back up again.

The biggest issue with this Reds team so far has been injuries. A lot of the guys that made 2023 so lethal for them down the stretch, like Matt McLain, T.J. Friedl, Brandon Williamson, Nick Lodolo and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, have all been hurt this year. And the other parts of that offensive front, like Spencer Steer, Jake Fraley, Will Benson and Jonathan India, are just plain okay at the moment. Steer has shown improvement, he's at least got 35 RBIs this season, but it's not as well rounded as he was last year, and I think he knows it. Fraley, supposedly the team's power hitter, has more steals than RBIs right now. India's hitting .220, Benson's hitting well for power but not for average, this new kid Jacob Hurtubise is...fine but hasn't done anything huge yet.

And yes, it's been fantastic that Elly de la Cruz has broken out, and is playing like an absolute pro on all levels, but even last year the offensive success was more spread out. Right now it seems like it's kinda all on Elly, and that's not a sustainable mentality. At the very least people like Tyler Stephenson, Stuart Fairchild, and the recently-activated Jeimer Candelario have had some moments of dominance. But clearly not enough.

...And yet the Reds just swept the Los Angeles Dodgers. So maybe something's finally clicking.

The Reds have won four straight, and not only has it been thanks to some of the more recent re-additions to the team, like Candelario and Lodolo, but it may be because it's hard for a lot of teams, even the Dodgers, to get past this pitching staff. The rotation has had some issues recently, Montas and Ashcraft have seen their ERAs raised, but the bullpen might be the secret weapon. Fernando Cruz, Lucas Sims, Buck Farmer, Sam Moll, Alexis Diaz, Brent Suter, all of them have been fantastic this year, and especially recently. Cruz has been untouchable recently, and Sims seems to be the top middle relief guy in town. Having Greene, Abbott and Lodolo all doing well certainly gives the Reds an edge over many competitors, and it's something that could ease them right back into the thick of the NL Central race.

The Reds have struggled, but they have too much going for them to be completely out of the race yet. We'll see how June fares for them.

Coming Tomorrow- A shortstop for a team that is once again unwilling to read the damned room.

No comments:

Post a Comment