The Cincinnati Reds need a lot to go right over the final week of the 2023 season in order to reach the MLB Playoffs, but Elly De La Cruz got the party started on Tuesday night.
De La Cruz, who hadn't homered in over a month, blasted two balls over the fence last night in the Reds 11-7 victory over the Cleveland Guardians. De La Cruz ended the night 3-for-5 with three runs scored.
It's easy to forget how electric De La Cruz was upon his arrival to the major leagues back in June. After all, De La Cruz has fallen on tough times and has been dropped down in the Reds batting order. But there's no way the rest of the NL Wild Card contenders want to see De La Cruz get hot.
Could Elly De La Cruz power the Reds to the MLB Playoffs?
Sometimes it's not always the best team that makes a run in the MLB Playoffs, but it's the team that gets hot at the right time. In order for the Cincinnati Reds to even make it to the postseason, they're going to need to win at least three of their last four games, and may need to win out.
But after watching Elly De La Cruz step up last night, there's every reason to believe that the talented Reds rookie could help push his club to the MLB Playoffs.
Before the All-Star break, De La Cruz was the hottest name in baseball. The 21-year-old was hitting .325/.363/.524 with a wRC+ of 132 according to FanGraphs. Since the Midsummer Classic, excluding last night's game, De La Cruz was hitting .178/.261/.320 with a wRC+ of 49.
Watching De La Cruz last night, you could see some of that youthful exuberance that he plays with start to reemerge. Having not a home run since August 23rd, De La Cruz's first round tripper had to feel as though the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders.
He then sent a ball 119.2 mph off the bat in the eighth inning that still may not have landed yet. According to MLB.com, De La Cruz's second homer of the game is the 10th hardest-hit ball of the Statcast era.
The Cincinnati Reds were able to overcome an early deficit and an awful outing from Hunter Greene. Kudos to the Reds bullpen, and also the duo of Luke Maile and TJ Friedl who provided some key at-bats during last night's game.
But there's just something about Elly De La Cruz. His personality is infectious, and if it's able to permeate the Cincinnati clubhouse over the next few days, don't be shocked if the Reds find themselves on the road in Milwaukee next Tuesday.