If the Cincinnati Reds really are playoff contenders, and by all accounts they are, they'll need to prove it down the stretch. There are fewer than 50 games remaining in the season, and the Reds are going to need to elevate their level of play over the next several weeks.
There have been some underwhelming performances by key players this season, and so far, this Reds team has been able to overcome those shortcomings.
But with the playoffs in sight, Cincinnati will need those big-name performers to play up to their potential. Which three players, who've underperformed so far this season, need to step up down the stretch?
1. The Reds need Jonathan India to step up down the stretch.
How much was Jonathan India's injury affecting his performance prior to his placement on the IL? There's honestly no way of knowing, but the hope is that India will be back on the field later this week.
India was a house of fire earlier this season, helping to transform the Reds identity and became one of the most vocal leaders on the field and in the clubhouse. Through the first two months of the season, India was hitting .282/.369/.426 and was setting the table for the Reds offense.
But things quickly changed for India once the calendar flipped to June. The former NL Rookie of the Year is hitting just .216/.297/.389 since June 1st, has seen the addition of several infielders to the Reds roster, heard his name tossed about in trade rumors, and is currently dealing with a foot injury.
But, if the Cincinnati Reds are going to make a serious run at the postseason, they're going to need that version of Jonathan India that everyone saw back during the first two months of the season. If India is able to return in the coming days and reclaim his spot atop the Reds lineup, big things could start happening for the Reds down the stretch.