Reds Country, there are several positives to take away from the opening season series split with the defending World Champion Braves in Atlanta over the weekend. For starters, the outfield defense, which has been well below-average the past couple of years, appears to be a strength of your 2022 Cincinnati Reds.
Whether it was centerfielder Nick Senzel making diving catches or Aristides Aquino showing off his cannon of a right arm to cut down a runner at the plate, Cincinnati has vastly improved a previous deficiency. Toss in the athleticism of Jake Fraley, and the Reds outfield is far removed from the subpar glove-work of the departed Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker.
Next, one of the biggest question marks for the 2022 campaign, which has been a common one for several years with the Redlegs, is how will an inexperienced bullpen perform? The early returns are outstanding.
The Reds host the Guardians as GABP opens its gates in 2022.
Cincinnati's bullpen allowed just four runs and 10 hits in 17.1 innings of work over the weekend. Additionally, they fanned 18 Braves hitters. Right-handers Luis Cessa and Tony Santillan, along with lefty Justin Wilson, posted multiple scoreless outings. Also, Santillan and, fellow right-hander, Art Warren recorded their first major league saves.
In addition, the Reds' offense rocked the Braves' pitching staff with big innings. Three of the four contests at Truist Park featured the Redlegs denting the plate at least three times in an inning. Strong defense, a shutdown bullpen, and big innings from the offense are a recipe for success.
Perhaps the biggest question facing Cincinnati for their home opener is which Cleveland offense will show up. In their first two games, both losses, the Guardians crossed the dish just one time. However, in Cleveland's two victories, the Guardians' offense exploded for 27 runs.
Not only has the 2022 schedule featured the Reds opening away from the Queen City for the first time since 1990, but the oddities don't end there. Believe it or not, this will not be the first-ever meeting with Cleveland to open Cincinnati's home docket. The Cincinnati Reds last bested the Cleveland Spiders 3-2 to open the 1898 baseball season.