Reds' catalyst Tyler Stephenson looks to close out strong 1st-half with a visit St. Louis

Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson.
Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson. / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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Catcher Tyler Stephenson is the catalyst for Reds offense.

It's obvious, Reds Country. When Tyler Stephenson is in the lineup, the Redlegs are a much better ball club. Cincinnati is 21-23 when Stepheson is in the starting lineup, and since returning from the IL on Saturday, the Cincinnati Reds are 4-1. It's no coincidence.

In his five starts since returning to the active roster, the Reds' backstop is a blistering 9-for-20 with a homer and five RBIs. Additionally, Stephenson has hit safely in every game since his return and has three multi-hit games.

Even though he's not an All-Star, there's no denying the 25-year-old Georgia native is one of the best, if not the best, catchers in the National League. And yes he's much better than Willson Contreras. Even though the Cubbies' backstop was selected as the starter for the senior circuit, there's not a GM in the game who would take him over Tyler Stephenson.

Willson Contreras is slashing .258/.373/.839 with 35 RBIs in 279 at-bats. On the other hand, Tyler Stephenson has slashed .323./376/.867 with as many ribbies in 118 fewer at-bats than his Chicago counterpart.

Honestly, the other two backstops on the NL roster, Travis d'Arnaud, and William Contreras, don't belong in the same sentence with Ty Steve. As I said, he may not be an "All-Star" this year, but there will be plenty of more opportunities to see Stephenson in the Midsummer Classic.

Prediction: Reds vs. Cardinals

This will be the first of six consecutive contests between the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. Following the All-Star break, the two teams will reconvene in Cincinnati for a three-game set to kick off the second half of the 2022 schedule.

But first things first. Unfortunately, look for the Redbirds to take two of the three from Cincinnati to close out the first half, but the Reds will return to the Queen City to open a 10-game homestand a week from today.

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