Reds vs. Diamondbacks: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

Apr 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder Tim Locastro (16) is tagged out by Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder Tim Locastro (16) is tagged out by Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /
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Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a double.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – APRIL 18: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a double. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Reds first baseman, Joey Votto, still bangs…and turns triple plays.

It was only a matter of time before the hits started coming. Joey Votto has been smoking the ball hard all season, as evidenced by his 10.9% barrels/plate appearance rate, which places him 10th in all of baseball, according to Statcast. It basically means Votto is crushing the ball as much as anyone in the game.

Votto became the first Reds player since San Francisco’s Oracle Park opened in 2000 to send a home run ball out of the stadium and into McCovey Cove for a splash shot. It was just the beginning of an exciting week for the Cincinnati Reds legend.

During the six-game stretch, Votto slashed an otherworldly .435/.480/.957 with three round-trippers and 7 RBIs. If that wasn’t enough, his improbable triple play in the 8th inning of Saturday’s game versus the Indians kept the Redlegs within a run and completely bailed Amir Garrett out of a world of trouble, and set the stage for Cincinnati’s eventual come from behind walk-off win in extras.

One Redleg not making solid contact is shortstop Eugenio Suarez. The former All-Star third baseman has struggled mightily at the plate and in the field. His 85.4 MPH exit velocity ranks seventh among Cincinnati regulars, and his hard rate of 25.8% on pitches 95 MPH+ is last among Reds starters. Unfortunately, we also have to talk about his defense.

Honestly, everyone knew Suarez playing shortstop was likely to be an unmitigated defensive disaster, and it’s been just as we suspected. Geno’s four miscues are the second-most among NL shortstops. This is the same Suarez that led the senior circuit in errors for third baseman in three of the past five seasons.

Prediction

Great American Ball Park has been very kind to its hosts through the first month of the season, and the presence of the Arizona Diamondbacks should do nothing to alter that fact. However, the Reds must capture this series because the road ahead is a difficult one.

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Following Thursday’s contest, the Reds begin a six-game road trip that will take them to St. Louis and then to Dodger Stadium to take on the World Champs. Look for the Reds to take two of three from the D-backs and maintain first place in the division before embarking on a challenging journey.