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

CINCINNATI, OHIO - APRIL 18: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - APRIL 18: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds gets ready in the batters box.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – APRIL 10: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds gets ready in the batter’s box. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Nick Senzel has been exceptional as of late.

Make no mistake about it. Much of Cincinnati’s fortunes this season clearly lie on Nick Senzel’s shoulders. Entering his third year at the big league level, Senzel’s play over the last week shows what he’s capable of doing.

Beginning with the final game in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, Senzel is hitting .389 with four walks and a homer in 18 at-bats. Additionally, it appears manager David Bell is prepared to unleash Senzel all over the field to maximize the team’s offense.

Due to Joey Votto’s absence over the next month, Bell will need to be creative with his lineup card to avoid scenarios where Kyle Farmer and Alex Blandino receive extended playing time.  Additionally, Shogo Akiyama’s return will necessitate some changes as well.

Having Nick Senzel moving around the diamond could pay huge dividends. We’ve already seen him start a game at second base during the last homestand, and I wouldn’t be surprised to regularly see him in the infield.

An outfield with Akiyama, Nick Castellanos, and Jesse Winker is already crowded before mentioning Tyler Naquin. Add to the mix a slumping rookie in Jonathan India at second base, and David Bell will need to do everything he can to have his best eight position players on the field for that specific day. Cincinnati is at their most dangerous when Nick Senzel’s in the lineup. Wherever that may be.

Prediction

Visiting Cleveland is never an easy proposition for the Reds, and this year is certainly no different. However, Reds Country has to feel confident regarding the pitching matchups, and it’s only a matter of time before Luis Castillo finds his mojo.

Next. Gutierrez could join the Reds rotation in 2021

Look for La Piedra to rise to the occasion on Saturday afternoon and be instrumental in helping the Cincinnati Reds return the Ohio Cup to the Queen City where it belongs before heading off to Pittsburgh for series versus the Pirates.