Cincinnati Reds: Historically, hot start may mean start of something great
By Josh Sempsrott
After years of low-scoring, lackluster starts, the Cincinnati Reds have sparked a start of historic proportions. Slice it and dice it however you want, but the Reds’ bats made history this April. Only seven other teams have scored 57 or more runs in their first six games of the season.
For each of those teams, the hot-start meant something different. What was fool’s gold for some teams was a preamble to championships for others. Might the Reds be embarking on an epic season?
The Reds have scored 66 runs so far this season.
The 2021 Cincinnati Reds scored 57 runs in six games, tied for fifth-best such start. They swept the Pittsburgh Pirates after taking the series against one of their direct competitors in St. Louis, all while joining the history books with 57 runs in six games. It’s a mark that’s even better than The Big Red Machine’s 51 runs in their first six games of the 1976 World Series season. So far, this team is taking care of business.
If you’re looking for validation or invalidation on this team, you’ll find it soon enough this summer. And yes, every one of the teams mentioned in this article had losing streaks, got blown out, and got shut out. It is a long season and there is an immense about of baseball to play in 2021. While yes, it is a small sample size, the historic start alone shows how many drastic improvements the team is making.
The Reds sweeping the Pirates, even if it’s the last-place Pirates, is a huge boost from recent years. The Reds went 12-26 against the Pirates from 2018 to 2019. And while things got out of hand the other night in Arizona, the Reds bats came through to back up the bullpen and the team succeeded in a one-run game. The Reds were .370 in one-run games since 2017 coming into the season.
This could be fool’s gold. We’ve seen great Reds lineups that sputter the season away in a mid-summer slump. So it’s understood why Reds fans and baseball critics would be skeptical of this piece of baseball history. But there are guys like Tucker Barnhart and Tyler Naquin that have made extreme individual improvements and are currently hitting the covers off of baseballs.
Stats like Naquin’s second-best 78.3% hard-hit percentage and league leading .886 expected-slugging-percentage suggest these aren’t just flukes but rather, these are some bat flippin’ sons of guns that are making a significant impact in the lineup.