As Nick Senzel and the Cincinnati Reds visit the City of Brotherly Love to battle the NL East leading Philadelphia Phillies, they will encounter a team that looks much different than the 2018 version.
Following a split in a rain-abbreviated series in St. Louis with the Cardinals the wheels of the Cincinnati Reds appear to be stuck in mud. Since May 1st the club has played .500 ball at 16-16, which isn’t awful, but on the heels of an 1-8 record to start the season, the Redlegs have to catch fire at some point in order to mount any sort of challenge in a highly competitive NL Central.
This weekend in Philadelphia presents yet another opportunity for the Cincinnati Reds (28-33) to emerge from the doldrums and provide some hope to an increasingly frustrated fanbase. The emergence of the pitching staff has been a wonderful surprise and well documented. Nevertheless, if the Reds are going to start playing winning baseball the offense is going to have to be the catalyst.
Two Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day starters have already lost their jobs dues to poor performances at the plate. José Peraza has been reduced to a utility role, while Scott Schebler is in Triple-A Louisville, having been replaced in center field by rookie Nick Senzel. Frankly, the leash should be getting shorter by the day for both Tucker Barnhart and Jesse Winker.
Right fielder Yasiel Puig has shown glimpses of what he’s capable of at the plate, but he’s been nowhere near the offensive presence the Reds envisioned he would be in the middle of the lineup. With so many struggling in the batters box, Cincinnati needed first baseman Joey Votto playing at a high level, which they haven’t received.
It’s June and the offensive numbers are not pretty. The Cincinnati Reds are below league average in almost every category and are dead last in doubles entering play on Thursday. Despite receiving unexpected production from both José Iglesias and Derek Dietrich, Reds’ manager David Bell has few options to fill out a respectable lineup card on a daily basis.