Reds: September is Eugenio Suárez’s time to shine

Cincinnati Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez (7) hits a double in the first inning.
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez (7) hits a double in the first inning. /

Coming into yesterday’s doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals, Eugenio Suárez was 1-for-24 over his last nine games. Geno, who recorded a hustle-double on a pinch hit appearance in Game 1, went 3-for-5 yesterday with two doubles, a home run, and two runs scored. The Cincinnati Reds will need to rely heavily on Suárez to break out of his slump this weekend.

Suárez’s double in Game 2 was inches away from being a home run. The right-handed slugger belted what was initially ruled a two-run homer, but upon review, it was deemed to have fallen just an inch or two short of going over the wall. Suárez was granted second base and Joey Votto, who was on first base prior to the at-bat, was sent back to third.

Had that first inning double actually cleared the fence, that would’ve been Suárez’s first multi-home run game of the 2021 season. In 2019, en route to slugging 49 dingers, Suárez had four multi-home run games. Suárez only had one multi-home run game in 2020, but in that contest, Geno racked up three round trippers and five RBIs.

The Reds are hoping Eugenio Suárez’s struggles disappear in September.

Can we stop acting surprised that Eugenio Suárez is among the league leaders in strikeouts? This isn’t breaking news. Geno led the NL in punch outs during his 49-home run campaign in 2019, and bumped his strikeout-rate from 28.5% in 2019 to 29% last season. In 2021, Suárez’s strikeout-rate is 30.5%. He is who he is.

It’s not the swings and misses that are overly concerning, but rather Suárez’s inability to get base hits. After hitting .202 during the abbreviated 2020 season, Suárez is hitting an unacceptable .174 this year. Had it not been for Mike Moustakas’ prolonged stint on the IL, one has to wonder how long David Bell would’ve let Suárez continue to start at third base.

But, perhaps there’s reason for optimism as the calendar flips to September. Oddly enough, during the 2019 season, the Reds and Cardinals opened the final month of the season with a doubleheader as the two teams did yesterday. Even more intriguing, more ironic, is that Suárez homered on September 1, 2019, taking Miles Mikolas deep in the third inning.

As impressive as Geno’s numbers were during the 2019 season as a whole, what the Venezuela native did during the month of September was on another level. Suárez posted a .337/.455/.747 slash line with 10 home runs and 18 RBIs. Perhaps more impressive was Suárez’s 199 wRC+ and 15.8% walk-rate during that span.

Suárez had an impressive July in 2019, hitting .289/.353/.733 with 12 home runs, 23 RBIs, and 163 wRC+, but September was the month that allowed Eugenio Suárez to shine the brightest and set the record for most home runs in a season by a Venezuelan-born player.

Even Geno’s performance in September last season was dramatically better than any other point during the pandemic-shortened season. Suárez hit .228/.326/.557 with seven of his 15 home runs coming in the final month of the season. Over the first two months of the 2020 season, Suárez hit just .185.

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This weekend should help fans and the Cincinnati coaching staff figure out how Eugenio Suárez might fit into the team’s plans for the month of September. With left-handers Tyler Alexander and Matthew Boyd slated to go to the bump for the Detroit Tigers, Reds Country should expect to see Suárez in the starting lineup for two of three versus the Motor City Kitties this weekend.