The Cincinnati Reds started another season slow but they look like they have found their groove. They currently sit at 20-24 which places them 6.5 games behind the NL Central leading Chicago Cubs…who the Reds just took a series from. Perhaps the most intriguing part of that series was not taking two of three form the Cubs, but the fact that the Reds could have the league MVP as well as the Cy Young for the National League. Let’s begin with Luis Castillo.
Castillo is in his third season with the Reds. His first two seasons he went a combined 13-19 with a 3.12 ERA in 2017 and a 4.30 ERA in 2018. Now, if you follow the Reds you know how much potential Luis Castillo had and it showed it towards the end of last season, but I think it’s fair to say that no one expected Castillo to be this good this season. Castillo has a 1.90 ERA that goes along with a 5-1 record in 10 starts. Castillo has given up more than two runs only once and that was against the Giants on May 8th. That was by far his worst start of the season but yet the Reds still should have won that game. He has recorded 76 strikeouts which puts him only behind Max Scherzer who has 79. He has given up only three home runs and honestly he has just lights out. His velocity has been uncomparable but his best pitch has been his filthy changeup.
Castillo has been so impressive and the league as noticed. He was named the early favorite in the NL for the Cy Young award due to his 0.99 WHIP. He has held his opponents to a .177 batting average and he has the best WAR among pitchers with a 2.2…the next closest is German Marquez with a 1.6. If he keeps this up, Castillo could be the next in line to join the Reds long list of Cy Young hopefuls, but hopefully the first to clinch the award. 18 teams have had a Cy Young and MVP in the same season, so it’d be fitting that the Reds do the same on the 150 anniversary of them becoming a major league team, the first one to be exact.
Eugenio started the season slow but has turned it around to be the Reds most important player on the offensive side. While Votto has been figuring himself out, Suarez has found his stride. During last night’s game, Suarez had two hits, providing the go-ahead run in the 5th inning and the other was an assurance run in the 7th. On Wednesday, Geno had three hits and three more RBI’s, including a game-tying two run home run in the 8th. It gets better.
Since May 1st, Geno has raised his average by 49 points. Over his last last 7 games, he is batting .452 with three home runs, four two-hit games and two three-hit games. During that span the Reds have won 5 of their last 7 games and closed their deficit to the Cubs. Suarez is tied for third in the NL in home runs, eight in RBI’s, and 10th in OPS. This is all including his early slump and honestly he can only go up from here. On his recent success and what has changed, Suarez claims that he just doesn’t put pressure on himself, saying “I know I can hit, I just try and do my best.” Well his best could win him the MVP.
I know it it’s stretch. Castillo has a much better chance than Geno has but we have such a long season. If Castillo can keep this up, I feel like he would be a lock. Geno would have to go on a tear to catch the leaders in Yelich and Bellinger. But like I said, it is a long season but the Reds do have a chance at being the 19th team to have a MVP and Cy Young winner.