Looking for relief from the road, Alexis Díaz and the Reds return home to battle the Cubs

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Alexis Diaz (43) delivers in the fifth inning of a baseball game.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Alexis Diaz (43) delivers in the fifth inning of a baseball game. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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It was some sort of homecoming for Joey Votto. Despite dropping two of three to an excellent Toronto Blue Jays squad, the Reds legend launched a solo go-ahead homer, his first of the season, in the top of the eighth to avoid a sweep north of the border.

After losing their first series in the two weeks, the Cincinnati Reds (12-28) remain in the basement of the National League Central trailing the first-place Milwaukee Brewers by 13.5 games. However, things are getting better. The Reds have won six of their last 10 contests.

Honestly, it's amazing the Reds escaped Toronto with a victory considering Cincinnati scored just five runs in the three-game set. Surprisingly, the Reds received a strong offensive performance in yesterday's series finale from an unlikely source.

Outfielder Aristides Aquino, who was added to the roster when several other Reds players were placed on the restricted list, went 2-for-4, including a double, with two RBIs in Sunday's victory. Granted, it's one game, but for a guy who was hitting .049 with 23 punch outs in 41 at-bats at the time of his demotion, it was great to see.

The Reds and Cubs clash for the first time in 2022.

The Chicago Cubs (16-24) visit the Queen City after narrowly avoiding a four-game series sweep at Wrigley Field by outlasting the Arizona Diamondback 5-4 yesterday afternoon. Entering play today, the Cubbies sit in third-place in the NL Central 9.5 games behind the Brew Crew.

It's hardly an intimidating lineup Cincinnati pitching will be facing. The North Siders are slashing a below-average .231/.309/.373 as a team. Even though third baseman Patrick Wisdom leads the club with nine round-trippers, he's whiffed a remarkable 56 times in only 128 at-bats.

Chicago has found more success on the pitching mound. As play began yesterday, their team ERA of 3.93 was slightly below the 4.00 league average. However, Cub hurlers are prone to the long ball. The 46 gopher balls surrendered are the third most in the senior circuit.

In two of the past three years, Cincinnati has won the season series between the two clubs. Additionally, the Reds were victorious in six of the nine contests at Great American Ball Park during the 2021 campaign.