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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Reds rookie Alexis Díaz has been dominant thus far in 2022.

As Ray Parker Jr. once eloquently asked "if there's something weird and it don't look good, who you gonna call?" If you ask Cincinnati manager David Bell, the answer's likely to be Alexis Díaz.

The rookie right-hander has been sensational coming out of the Reds' bullpen. Making 18 appearances, he's 2-0 with an incredible 24 strikeouts in 19.2 innings of work. It appears the key to his success is having the Puerto Rican native enter the game with a fresh inning.

When opening a frame, opposing hitters are just 1-for-16 with eight strikeouts as play began yesterday. Just as important, Diaz has not walked a batter to open an inning. If you're going to have success against Díaz, you better swing at the first pitch.

Entering Sunday, when hitters take a hack at the first Diaz offering, they are slashing .250/.269/.375 with a homer. If you take the first pitch, you might as well turn around and head towards the dugout. Opponents are a paltry 2-for-36 with 14 punch outs. Needless to say, a strong argument can be made that Alexis Díaz is Cincinnati's MVP through the first six weeks of the 2022 season.

Prediction: Reds vs. Cubs

Don't let the series loss to Toronto fool you, Reds Country. The Redlegs are playing much better baseball as of late and the Chicago Cubs are about to find out just how good for themselves.

Look for the Reds to take three of four from the Cubbies before welcoming an excellent San Francisco Giants ball club to town for Memorial Day weekend.

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