After dropping the first two games of a three-game series to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cincinnati Reds are no longer in first place in the National League Central.
The Reds, however, could salvage the series with a win on Sunday and be tied atop the division with a visit from the San Francisco Giants on deck.
Cincinnati's bats have mustered only three hits since play resumed following the All-Star break. The once feared lineup has been quieted since beginning the second-half of the 2023 season. But on the plus-side, the pitching has been very good.
Reds starters Graham Ashcraft & Andrew Abbott post-All-Star performances may quiet trade talks
For all the trade talk surrounding the Cincinnati Reds, it would appear that perhaps an additional bat might be more important than bringing in another starting pitcher.
All kidding aside, the Reds lineup will start hitting again. There's too much talent there for these struggles to continue. But to see both Graham Ashcraft and Andrew Abbott have quality starts following the All-Star break should be encouraging news for Reds Country.
Ashcraft got things going with a terrific effort on Friday night. The right-hander, who'd had his fair share of struggles this season, got back to doing what he does best. Ashcraft induced weak contact, saw several ground balls hit to his defense, and left after six innings and allowed only one run on five hits.
Abbott couldn't have gotten off to a worse start on Saturday, after allowing a leadoff-homer to former NL MVP Christian Yelich. But the lefty righted the ship and allowed just two runs on three hits. Though Abbott saw two balls leave the yard, both home runs came with no one else on base.
Reds fans have been clamoring for the Cincinnati front office to pull the trigger on a trade that brings another starter to the Queen City. With Hunter Greene set to return in a few weeks, and hopefully Nick Lodolo right behind him, if the starting rotation can duplicate their efforts from Friday and Saturday, an additional arm may not be necessary.