The Cincinnati Reds are surprisingly still alive in the hunt for the final NL Wild Card spot. With just 10 games to play, Cincinnati is in the mix along with the Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
According to Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bell said he’s managing these like playoff games. If that's true, the Cincinnati skipper may have some difficult decisions to make over the final two weeks of the 2023 season.
Some of these choices may not be popular with fans, and others might not be too popular with the Reds players themselves. Let's look at three difficult decisions Bell will need to make over the final 10 games.
1. Reds manager David Bell needs to keep Jonathan India as the leadoff hitter no matter what.
Jonathan India belongs in the leadoff spot for the Cincinnati Reds. I don't care if there's a left-hander, a right-hander, or an ambidextrous pitcher on the mound for the opposition, India needs to be hitting atop the Reds lineup every game for the rest of the season.
In the leadoff spot, India has hit .274/.366/.411 with a wRC+ of 109 according to FanGraphs. India has also batted third, fifth, sixth, and seventh this season, and in none of those spots in the order has India's OPS been above .700 outside of his one start batting seventh.
Bell has tinkered with the lineup incessantly throughout the year, and we've seen the likes of TJ Friedl, Jake Fraley and Elly De La Cruz get their time in the leadoff spot. Friedl's OPS in the leadoff spot was just .693 and De La Cruz struggled mightily batting first in the Reds lineup.
Fraley actually has an OPS of .860 hitting leadoff, but has a much higher OPS batting second and also fifth in the lineup. Fraley is also a bit hobbled at this point in the season due to a stress fracture, so sending him out atop the lineup could be a bit of a hindrance to the Reds base running.
There are 10 games left in the 2023 season and the Cincinnati Reds are on the verge of going to the postseason for the first time since 2020. Keeping Jonathan India as the table setter is essential for these final two weeks.