The Most Important Series of the Year

Well the series after All-Star break can tell you a lot, but one thing it showed us is that this team is still not in sync. With the offense exploding for 28 runs in three games, the pitching struggled and allowed 23. Unfortunately for the Reds, the only solid pitching they had all weekend was Sonny Gray but they lost due to 2 home runs given up by Hernandez in a wildly disappointing 2-3 loss. Which brings us to now. The Reds march into Wrigley with a lot riding on this series. Sitting at 42-48, if the Reds get swept they could be 9.5 games out with all hope lost and with the deadline coming up, it could be a selling fest. But, they they win two or even sweep the Cubs, they’ll be 4.5 or 3.5 games out and that changes the narrative. Let’s take a look.

Tonight we’ve got our ace, Luis Castillo on the mound going up against Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks is 1-1 against the Reds this season while Castillo sits at 1-1 as well. By all means, this will be the lowest scoring game of the season as Hendricks knows how to pitch the Reds, but he is 0-1 at home against them this year. Castillo is just about the same, he’ll find a way to shut down the Cubs offense as he has this season it just depends whose offense shows up first. Personally, I think the Reds win this game because there is a chip on their shoulder and they need to prove themselves before it is too late.

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Game two we got DeSclafani going up against Alec Mills who is making his first start of the 2019 season. DeSclafani is 2-0 against Chicago this season while Mills beat the Reds last season. It will more than likely be a high scoring game but the Reds need it. Game three will be between Sonny Gray and Yu Darvish. Gray is 2-0 against the Cubs, while Darvish is 1-1. The Reds have the pitching advantage all series. It will come down to the offensive side of the ball but with it being it Wrigley, the Reds scored 24 runs back in May. The Reds need a sweep to remain relevant, but will they get it?

By all accounts the Reds have shown they have what it takes to beat the Cubs this season. Winning 6 of 9 from the Cubbies, they need these next 3 as their season may depend on it. If they lose all three or even 2, they’ll be 8.5 or 9.5 back with all hope pretty much gone. With the deadline coming up, the Reds could sell and get a plethora of prospects especially if Castillo goes on the market. So let’s sit back and just watch the most important series of the year…let’s go Redlegs.

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Cincinnati Reds Hidden Gems Part 2: AAA All-Star

Originally, the Reds Hidden Treasure blog was only supposed to be a one time post about the Louisville Bats’ Brian O’Grady. But in a shocking turn of events, the AAA affiliate of Cincinnati has an unprecedented SECOND elite prospect that has not yet been called up to the majors. Arisitides Aquino is having a phenomenal season in Louisville. With 20 home runs, 39 RBI’s and a .293 batting average; he is proving to be one of the best players in the Reds farm system. And his performance landed him a spot in the AAA All-Star game.

As you can see in the tweet from the Bats above, Aquino is no stranger to all-star games. He has played in the Advanced-A, AA, and AAA all-star games. Hopefully, it is only a matter of time until he is playing in the MLB. It is awesome to finally be excited for prospects in the Reds’ system instead of just a couple players on the top team. The wait for another Reds playoff appearance is almost over and now they are building up the young talent to keep them in contention for years to come.

Aquino went 0-2 in his two plate appearances in the 9-3 loss to the Pacific Coast League All-Stars. Also, if anyone can tell me why minor league baseball leagues are named the same way batteries are, that would be great. Follow me on twitter @soft7wic and our main account @soft7sports for everything Reds.

The Reds Hidden Treasure Playing for Their AAA Louisville Bats

The Cincinnati Reds have been truly blessed with solid prospects rising through their farm system. Nick Senzel, after having a 15+ game hitting streak in the minors, was called up and made an immediate impact. He’s solidified his place in the outfield and batting order and doesn’t look to be making a move back to Louisville any time soon. Joseph VanMeter, after hitting about one home run every game, has been called to Cincinnati now for the second time after showing his versatility on offense and defense.

But there is one other prospect that the Reds are well aware of, but won’t call up because, to put it simply, they can’t. And that prospect is Brian O’Grady of the Louisville Bats.

Take a look at the batting leaders for the Cincinnati Reds in the 2019 season:

Now look at Brian O’Grady’s batting stats as of 7/7/19:
Batting avg: .291
Home runs: 22
RBI: 55
OBP: .361
Hits: 86
All while playing 10 less games than the Reds.

Yes, he is playing against lesser competition, but shouldn’t having better stats than the guys in the majors at least warrant a chance to prove his worth? Apparently not, and here is a couple reasons why.

Brian O’Grady plays first base. That has been and always will be Joey Votto’s position until the day he leaves Great American Ballpark for good. After all, he is the pride and joy of Cincinnati with a normal hair color. Nobody, and I mean nobody, dare mess with what he has built.

But why can’t they just stick him in the outfield? Bad idea. The Reds have two good things going for them right now: their uniforms and their defense. The sleeveless uni’s from the I-words game were incredible, and the Reds have allowed the least amount of runs in the the National League and second least in the entire MLB. The outfield of Senzel, Puig, Winker, and Dietrich have been a huge part of that. It would not be smart to mess with that when the Reds have pulled to 4.5 games back in the NL Central.

How about playing O’Grady at the DH? Again, no. The only time the Reds can use a DH is when they are playing on the road against a team from the American League. I am sure you all already knew that, but it is worth pointing out since that only happens one other time for the rest of the season against Seattle. Yes, 75 games remaining and there is no room for an AL opponent. I guess fitting in a little interleague play is difficult when you have to play the teams in your own division roughly 700 times a season.

Unless something drastic happens, do not expect Brian O’Grady to be called up to Cincinnati this season. If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now. So until then, sit back and enjoy the hidden gem of the Louisville Bats and the fact that Louisville Slugger Field actually has some sluggers again.

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Sleeveless Baseball Jerseys Are Best Baseball Jerseys

SUNS. OUT. GUNS. OUT.

The Cincinnati Reds have been on fire as of late. Not only have they swept the Astros and taken a series from the Cubs and Brewers all in the last month, they have been pulling out all the stops when it comes to uniforms. How can they top the green St. Patty’s day or the all navy throwbacks? Funny you should ask, because they pulled out the magnificent sleeveless uni’s to pay tribute to the 1950’s-60’s Cincinnati Reds of yesteryear.

They may have lost by double digits to the I-words, but they looked damn good doing it. Especially Yasiel Puig:

And guess what no one is talking about..? the 11-1 loss. Everyone is laser focused on how awesome these jerseys are. And just the thought of the Reds rocking these bad boyz into the frigid November nights makes me so excited for Playoff Baseball. And better yet, that possibility is becoming more and more likely now that the Reds are just 4.5 games back in the NL Central with one of the best defenses in baseball.

Just exercising their right to bare arms.

Big Red Machine coming through. Follow us on Twitter @soft7sports.

The Cincinnati Reds Are Actually the Best in the National League in Something

The Cincinnati Reds are having another typical Cincinnati Reds season. A sub .500 start leading into the All Star break with glimpses of hope but ultimate disappointment is about as typical as it gets. But, one of those glimpses of hope that has not dwindled away just yet has been the shining glory of the Reds’ season. The Reds are actually the best in the National League in something.

Are the Reds the best team in the National League?
God, no.

Are they the best in the NL Central?
Not even close.

Maybe they have the best batting average, home runs or runs scored?
Let’s not get our hopes up any time soon.

The Reds offense has been underwhelming all season, but their defense has been their something to behold. In fact, the Reds lead the National League in runs allowed. Only giving up 319 runs all year before their July 2 game versus the Brewers. And if you can believe it, this is the second best runs allowed in the entire MLB only giving up more than Tampa.

The Reds’ defense has been unreal this season.

Other things the Reds are the best in the National League in:
– Fights with the Pirates
– Lease amount of losses to the Pirates by 13+ runs (@cubs)
– Runs scored on the Marlins in a single game (14)

Most Important Week of the Year

After this next week, the MLB officially goes on their All-Star break and it is a great time to build momentum towards a strong second half of the season. The Reds are coming off another series win against the Chicago Cubs and currently sit at 38-43 which is 5.5 games back in the NL Central and they have a chance to gain even more ground because the Brewers enter for a 4 game series starting tonight. The Reds need to win this series, they somehow need to sneak at least three wins from them and continue their momentum from yesterday’s huge win against the Cubs.

Yesterday, the Cubs fought back from a 4-0 deficit and made it 4-3 after a very controversial pulling of Anthony Desclafani, who only threw 73 pitches allowing 5 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 7. In the bottom of the eighth, the Reds tacked on 4 more runs which showed their fight and gave us a glimpse at how fun this Reds team can really be. Let’s go back to the pulling of Desclafani…David Bell has done this quite a lot where he pulls the starter no matter what the situation is after the 6th and people gave him shit for it but I’ll defend him here.

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Bell went to the bullpen for the final three innings and who cares? The Reds have the 3rd best bullpen in the league and Desclafani struggles when he sees a lineup the third time around. This was the right call. You think Bell knew that Lorenzen would suck? Definitely not, he went to who he trusted more with the Cubs lethal lineup and I respect the move. They went on the win but not comfortably, 8-6 after Iglesias gave up a 3 three bomb in the top of the ninth. Regardless, still a huge series win and they remain Cub Killers. Which brings us the the most important week of the year.

The division leading Milwaukee Brewers march into town coming off a series win over the Pirates. The Reds need this series. They need at least three wins out of the four games and it would bring them 41-44 and brings them to presumably 4 out in the division. With the return of Scooter, Geno being Geno, Votto on a tear, Puig waking up, and the 3rd best pitching in the league, this team could put together a run. This could start the push towards October and build the momentum needed for a strong second half…but it has to start tonight. Also huge shoutout to Luis Castillo for making the All-Star game, what a day for him.

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Luis Castillo Trade Talk

Luis Castillo has been the ace of the Reds all season but has stumbled a little in his last few starts. With the trade deadline approaching at the end of July and Castillo possibly becoming the Reds first starter since Cueto to make the All-Star game, trade rumors have popped up. There is always one team looking for elite pitching…the New York Yankees, the Evil Empire. Being a Yankees fan as well, I’d say hell yeah to a trade but honestly the Reds should stay put. But let’s at least look at the possible scenarios, of which one seems pretty enticing.

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Chris Moore of CBS Radio has stated that Castillo recently came across the desk of Brian Cashman (a personal friend of mine not to brag) and also stated that “Castillo wouldn’t come cheap.” In the middle of his best season, Castillo is currently third in Cy-Young voting and is posting a career best 2.56 ERA and a current 7-2 record. Castillo has definitely struggled recently, so that begins the conversation…if the offer is good enough, do the Reds sell their ace? Let’s take a look…

Reds Give up: Luis Castillo (SP)

Reds Receive: Clint Frazier (OF), Estevan Florial (OF), and one of the following: Deivi Garci (RP) or Jonathan Loaisiga (RP)

To me, this is the only thing I would take. Castillo could be the future of the Reds and it really depends on how their season goes until July 31st. If they are in contention, there is no way I would give up Castillo, but if they do decide to sell this is the first place I’d look.

What do you think? Should the Reds trade Castillo?