I said earlier this week that this could be the most important week of the season because they had series against the division leading Cubs and Brewers. Well, here we are on July 5th and the Reds won both of the series with a combined 5-2 record and they ended it with perhaps the most dominating pitching performances of the year from Sonny Gray and our ace, Luis Castillo.
As Wic wrote the other day, the Reds have allowed the fewest runs in Major League Baseball. A huge part of that comes from their outstanding shift in their pitching with a league ranking of third. They are second in the league in shutouts with nine, but they currently are dead last in the NL Central. But things are changing. With the momentum building week they have had, the Reds currently sit only 3.5 games out of first in the Central and currently 3.5 games out in the Wild Card as well. They have the ability to gain some more ground with the Indians coming in town but their schedule does not get any easier after All-Star break. In fact, they will play a ton of games against the NL Central which gives them so much ground to gain. So what needs to happen?
It’s easy to say that hitting is the issue, and it is, but consistency is the real problem. The Reds have been producing in the first inning which has led them to tons of wins recently, including last night against the Brewers. They are lucky to have a top bullpen (4th overall, 2nd in NL) that has let them kind of breeze by without scoring runs but that needs to change. Votto, Senzel, and Puig have been producing like no other recently so let’s hope the rest of the team catches on.
But let’s get real. My expectations for this team remain the same, a NL Wild Card spot and a visit to either Milwaukee or Los Angeles for the NLDS. This team has the ability to reach the NLCS but it will start with their hitting. Their pitching has proved it can remain a force and once the offense wakes up, this team could be atop of the NL. Realistically, they are a Wild Card team but as MJ once said, “the ceiling is the roof.” So I ask you, what are your expectations?