Cincinnati Reds: Will George Foster’s home run record fall this season?

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 15: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a solo home run off of Zac Gallen #59 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning at Chase Field on September 15, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. It was the second home run of the game for Suarez. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 15: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a solo home run off of Zac Gallen #59 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning at Chase Field on September 15, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. It was the second home run of the game for Suarez. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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Eugenio Suárez has been on quite a tear of late. Can he eclipse the Cincinnati Reds home run record set by George Foster back in 1977?

Over the next two weeks, Eugenio Suárez will be the primary focus throughout most of Reds Country. With the playoffs out of reach, Geno is giving Cincinnati Reds fans something to cheer for down the stretch. While Suárez is in a dead heat with Pete Alonso for the Major League lead in home runs, he’s also approaching George Foster‘s team record.

Suárez deposited home runs No. 46 and 47 into the seats at Chase Field last night, helping the Reds to a 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. That pair of homers brought Suárez to the same season total as one of his idols and fellow Venezuelan Andres Galarraga. The Big Cat hit 47 homers with the Colorado Rockies in 1996.

In 1977, George Foster had a season for the ages, perhaps the greatest individual season in Cincinnati Reds history. After winning back-to-back World Series Championships as part of the Big Red Machine and falling just short of the NL MVP in 1976, Foster dismantled the opposition and put up numbers that would look gaudy even by today’s standards.

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Foster, in 158 games, led the league in runs scored (124), home runs (52), RBIs (149), slugging percentage (.631), OPS (1.013) and total bases (388). Foster went to his second straight All-Star Game and handily won the NL MVP with 15 of the 24 first-place votes.

Eugenio Suárez is well off the pace in nearly all those categories except one. With 12 games left in the regular season, there’s a real chance that Geno could match or surpass Foster’s team record for home runs in a single season.

No one in Major League Baseball is hotter than Suárez right now. Geno has 27 home runs since the All-Star break, the most in the major leagues. In his last 7 games, Suárez has 5 home runs, 8 RBIs and a ridiculous 1.125 slugging percentage.

If Suárez is going to break Foster’s record, he’ll need six more homers over the next two weeks. Over his last 12 games, which includes 11 starts, Geno has 7 home runs in 46 plate appearances. We should expect Suárez to receive about the same number of plate appearances over the next 12 games.

The Cincinnati Reds visit the Chicago Cubs over the next three days. Joe Madden will send Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish and Jon Lester to the mound. Suárez has one homer off Darvish this season and two off Lester. In fact, Lester presents a very favorable matchup for Suárez on Wednesday night. The Reds third baseman is 14-for-39 lifetime against Lester with 5 home runs.

After a three-game stint at the Friendly Confines, the Cincinnati Reds return home to do battle with the New York Mets. The Mets rotation has not yet been revealed, but one would expect to see Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz toe the rubber for Mickey Callaway‘s crew.

Suárez’s success against those three Mets starters is not good. Geno is 3-for-12 lifetime against last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner. deGrom has yet to allow Suárez to take him deep. Actually, Geno hasn’t hit a homer off any of the likely starters for the Mets. Perhaps that just means he’s due.

To close out the season, Cincinnati will entertain the Milwaukee Brewers before closing the season in Pittsburgh. Of his 47 home runs, 23 have come at home, so the three-game series against Milwaukee will provide plenty of opportunities for Suárez. As for the final series of the year, Suárez hasn’t had much luck at PNC Park this season. He’s 3-for-21 with just one home run.

To be honest, Eugenio Suárez’s pursuit of George Foster’s home run record may be more of an uphill task than people think. However, Geno has been doubted all season, even being left off the All-Star roster.

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While his play earlier this season didn’t warrant inclusion in the Midsummer Classic, his body of work for the entire season speaks for itself. If Suárez can outlast Alonso for the Major League lead in homers, that’d be pretty special. However, to break a record that’s stood for over 40 years would be pretty special as well. Go get ’em Geno!