Reds vs Royals: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 12: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds throws to first past Whit Merrifield #15 of the Kansas City Royals (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 12: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds throws to first past Whit Merrifield #15 of the Kansas City Royals (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a home run
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – AUGUST 09: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a home run (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Reds DH is starting to lead the way

When a team is hitting .203, it might seem silly to praise a member of the offense, but Jesse Winker has garnered the attention of Reds Country. Over the past week, Winker is slashing an incredible .450./.522/.700 with a homer and two doubles. Those may not be Nick Castellanos power numbers, but they’ll certainly suffice.

We’ve been told ad nausem the past two seasons that Winker can’t hit left-handed pitching. Granted it’s a small sample size, but the 2020 numbers are telling a different story. In 11 plate appearances against southpaws, Winker has drawn a walk and collected two hits. While the .250 batting average is nothing special, the .455 OBP is a welcomed surprise.

As David Bell trots out a different lineup almost nightly trying to find the right combination, it looks as if Jesse Winker has found comfort in the five-hole. In four starts hitting directly behind the cleanup hitter, Winker has posted a ridiculous 1.420 OPS. Again, it’s a small sample size, but the numbers speak for themselves.

It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Winker and Phillip Ervin would be used as a platoon, with Ervin getting the nod against lefties. However, with Ervin hitting just .100 in 20 at-bats, including .143 versus southpaws, it’s time for David Bell to drop the platoon and let Jesse Winker play himself out of an everyday role.

Prediction

If there was ever a stretch for the Cincinnati Reds to gain some ground in the NL Central, the next 10 days will be crucial. Their next eight games are against the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates. Six of those games are at Great American Ball Park.

Next. Concerns are mounting for Castillo

It’s only a matter of time before the Reds offense breaks loose and I look for that to happen over the next two days as the Reds flush the Royals for a two-game sweep. Going 2-0 versus KC would bring Cincy back up to .500.