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

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 03: The national anthem before the start of the Philadelphia Phillies game against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 03: The national anthem before the start of the Philadelphia Phillies game against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Manager David Bell #25 of the Cincinnati Reds instructs one of his batters.
CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 24: Manager David Bell #25 of the Cincinnati Reds instructs one of his batters. Milwaukee defeated Cincinnati 4-2. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Memorial Day is not a true snapshot of the 2021 Reds.

Having played 51 games and reaching Memorial Day, we can no longer accurately use the phrase “it’s early.” An old baseball adage is don’t look at the standings until Memorial Day. Unfortunately, for the Redlegs, it’s Groundhog Day.

Cincinnati enters the holiday six games back in the National League Central. As a matter of fact, the Reds have not been above .500 on Memorial Day since 2013 during Dusty Baker’s final season as manager.

Can the Cincinnati Reds truly make a serious run at the division? Let’s recap what the first 51 contests tell us. First, the Reds can score runs in bunches, as evidence by the seven times they’ve scored more than 10 runs in a game. Second, the offense is inconsistent.

Seven times the Redlegs’ offense has been shutout this season. Despite receiving MVP-worthy performances from outfielders Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker, they still have Eugenio Suarez hitting .163 and regularly start a trio of Alex Blandino, Kyle Farmer, and Jonathan India; of which none are hitting higher than .232 while displaying very little power.

Why exactly are Blandino and Farmer receiving consistent starting assignments? Injuries. Plain and simple. First baseman Joey Votto hasn’t played in nearly a month, and infielder Mike Moustakas has been limited to 28 games due to various ailments. Add in knee surgery for Nick Senzel, and there have been few opportunities for manager David Bell to field his best lineup.

As the final four months unfold, here’s what to watch. Can the Reds get healthy? Will Luis Castillo bounce back from a horrid start? Is the bat of Eugenio Suarez finally coming to life? Can anyone in the bullpen outside of Tejay Antone be trusted? We’re 51 games into the 2021 campaign, but there’s still much unknown about this Reds club.

Prediction

To call this series versus the Phillies a must-win is inaccurate. It’s not a division opponent, and much like Cincinnati, Philadelphia is hovering around .500, trying to put the pieces together. Both teams would love a series victory, but it’s not crucial.

Philadelphia is just 10-18 outside of the City of Brotherly Love, and Great American Ball Park has been a nightmare for them over the past decade. Look for that trend to continue as the Reds take two of three from the Phillies before hitting the road again to stare down their demons in St. Louis.