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

CINCINNATI, OHIO - APRIL 03: Benches clear after Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds slides safely into home base to score on a wild pitch. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - APRIL 03: Benches clear after Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds slides safely into home base to score on a wild pitch. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds walks to the dugout.
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 26: Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds walks to the dugout. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Reds’ catcher Tucker Barnhart is easily the most overlooked player on the team.

Eight years into his career in the Queen City, and somehow, Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart still does not receive the recognition he deserves. To a man, every pitcher will rave about his ability to call a game. He’s won two Gold Gloves, caught a no-hitter, but now Barnhart is adding a little offense to his arsenal.

Entering today, Barnhart is on pace to set career highs in nearly every offensive category. His slash line of .273/.361/.430 are career-best marks in each area. Additionally, if he can continue his rate of a 107 OPS+, it would be the first time he would cross the century mark in a season.

The offensive improvement could not come at a more opportune time. Injuries have robbed the Cincinnati lineup of proven weapons such as Mike Moustakas and Joey Votto for extended periods, leaving manager David Bell scrambling for answers to find offense. Tucker Barnhart has more than stepped up during a challenging period.

Let’s hope Tucker is finally recognized for his contributions to the Reds. When the National League All-Star team assembles in Denver this July, Barnhart should be just the second Reds catcher in 40 years to represent the Queen City.

Prediction

Reds Country, we know the history as far as Busch Stadium is concerned. Too many times to count, the Cincinnati Reds have left the Land of the Arch bruised and battered. That begs the question; will this time be any different?

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The answer is yes; however, the Reds will have to walk before they run. Look for the Redlegs to split the four-game weekend series before returning home to battle another division rival in the Milwaukee Brewers. Go crazy, Reds fans!