Look for Aristides Aquino to be in the Reds starting lineup on Wednesday night.
After Kyle Hendricks impressive outing during the Chicago Cubs first game of the 2020 season, it’s safe to say that no one in the Cincinnati Reds lineup will want any piece of the right-hander. No one, except for Aristides Aquino.
Take out your Sharpie, ballpoint pen or whatever you use to fill out your scorecard and write Aquino’s name in permanent ink for Wednesday’s matchup against Hendricks and the Cubs. Before the season, Aquino was left off the Reds 30-man roster, but a flurry of moves late last week found The Punisher’s name on the active roster.
It couldn’t have come at a better time for Aquino, who made a pinch hit appearance on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers. Aquino struck out during his first at-bat, but promptly delivered an RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning, scoring Freddy Galvis.
With free agent acquisition Nick Castellanos occupying right field, Aquino has started the past two games in left field. Shogo Akiyama and Phillip Ervin have split time in center field with Nick Senzel out of the lineup.
The 2019 season introduced Reds Country and fans around Major League Baseball to The Punisher. Aristides Aquino broke records that few fans even knew existed en route to winning the National League Player of the Month in August after blasting 14 home runs, racking up 33 RBIs and putting up an 1.158 OPS.
One of The Punisher’s victim’s was Cubs left-hander Kyle Hendricks. On August 10, 2019, Aquino took Hendricks deep to left field during his first at-bat in the bottom of second inning. That marked the fourth straight game in which Aquino had pounded a baseball into the seats. Only Eric Davis, who also wore No. 44, was the only other Reds rookie to have done that.
Aristides Aquino wasn’t quite done. With two outs in the bottom of the third inning and Cincinnati leading Chicago 3-0, The Punisher stepped up to the plate to face Hendricks again. Aquino launched the first pitch he saw from Hendricks into the seats in left field, giving the Reds a 4-0 lead.
After Kyle Hendricks was lifted in favor of Dillon Maples, Aristides Aquino decided to welcome the right-hander to the game by absolutely destroying a 1-2 pitch. Aquino sent his third home run of the night into deep left-center field, much to shock of his teammates, Eugenio Suárez and Jesse Winker who looked on in amazement.
The Cincinnati Reds could certainly use a similar performance from Aquino tonight. The team has limped to a 1-4 start, dropping the first two games of a four-game set to the Chicago Cubs. With Sonny Gray on the mound and Aristides Aquino in the batter’s box, perhaps the Reds will feel better about their chances on Wednesday night.