After a seemingly endless offensive slump to begin the Cincinnati Reds’ season, the offense has finally awakened and they are back with a vengeance.
After a fourth consecutive 90-plus loss season for the Cincinnati Reds, a productive offseason, including finally landing some quality starting pitching, it’s fair to say that fans expected this year’s team to come into the 2019 season ready to go. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
The Reds pulled off a big win on Opening Day thanks to clutch hits from newcomers José Iglesias and Derek Dietrich, a solid start from Luis Castillo and a big save from David Hernandez. However, the next 8 games would not show the momentum we expected. An 8-game losing streak combined with 30 straight scoreless innings had the fan base a little confused and discouraged.
The Cincinnati Reds players of course were feeling the slump more than anyone. It was reported that Tucker Barnhart ceremoniously burned a baseball bat in a barrel in hopes of lighting a fire under the offense. Yasiel Puig also shared a video via Instagram of himself talking to the statue of Roberto Clemente outside of PNC park asking Clemente to help his team’s offense.
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The tides however, turned against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 6th when a two-run home run off the bat of Kyle Farmer broke the drought. Despite the fact that the Reds did not win that game, Farmer’s breakthrough on the scoreless streak was a big moment. The door was kicked down and the rest of the team followed with two more runs scored. The team, however, did lose the game.
The next game on would end up being one for the books. Despite being another loss, the Cincinnati Reds scored 5 runs, but lost 5-7. The big talk to come out of the game was the benches-clearing scuffle at the top of the fourth inning after Pirates pitcher Chris Archer threw a pitch that went behind the back of Derek Dietrich.
Dietrich had hit a 2-run homer off Archer in has previous at-bat that ended up in the river. Dietrich took a second to watch the ball fly out of the stadium before his home-run trot around the bases. Archer didn’t appreciate that. The benches cleared and the scuffle ended with Puig attempting to take on the entire Pittsburgh team despite the best efforts of Joey Votto and Barnhart.
Subsequently Puig, along with Reds pitcher Amir Garrett, and manager David Bell were ejected from the game. Puig and Bell were both given suspensions by Major League Baseball. Archer was handed a five-game suspension for intentionally trying to hit Dietrich.
The big offensive explosion came during the series opener against the Miami Marlins. Backing up Castillo’s outstanding start, the Reds offense tore through the Marlins 14-0. The Reds hit a total of 5 home runs in the game including three consecutive home runs from Matt Kemp, Eugenio Suárez, and Scott Schebler.
The blow out win was also an important breakthrough for several players. Winker hit his first home run of the season, Kemp’s home run was his first in the regular season as a member of the Reds, Suárez hit his 100th career home run, and Schebler had homered in back-to-back games.
The Reds followed up their 14-0 blowout victory with a 2-1 squeaker over Miami last night. José Iglesias shined on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. He tied the game in bottom of the 8th inning with a solo shot to right-center field. Two batters later, Winker snuck one over the left field fence and the Reds emerged victorious.
Today, Cincinnati blanked the Marlins 5-0 and head to Monterrey riding a three-game winning streak. Suárez hit his 3rd home run of the season and Puig had a 2-RBI double in the bottom of the 5th, plating Winker and Votto.
It was a tough week in Reds Country following Opening Day. I know I had a very hard time staying positive after what we as fans have dealt with over the last few seasons. But I definitely think we are on our way to big things in the 2019 season. The Cincinnati Reds are one their way folks!