TJ Friedl proved why he's an everyday player for this year's Reds team

Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl
Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

It's very early in the season, and it was just one game, but my goodness did the Cincinnati Reds need that victory last night over the Texas Rangers.

TJ Friedl provided the drama in the ninth inning with a walk-off hit following several failed bunt attempts. Friedl lined a base hit over the head of the second baseman into right-center field and the Redlegs won by a final of 7-6 after trailing 5-1 earlier in the ball game.

Last night's win was the first walk-off of 2023 for the Reds and it couldn't have come at better time. Cincinnati had lost six straight games entering last night. The hero of the game was TJ Friedl, and the 27-year-old proved why he needs to be on the field every day.

TJ Friedl proved why he's an everyday player for this year's Reds team.

The Cincinnati Reds were coming off a brutal stretch of games that saw them play seven straight against two of the hottest teams in baseball - the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds hitting was virtually nonexistent as they scored just seven runs during their six-game losing streak.

But the bats finally woke up on Monday night, and after falling behind 5-1, Cincinnati rallied and drew a pair of two-out walks in the bottom of the eighth inning to knot the score at five runs apiece.

TJ Friedl has been a consistent bat in the Cincinnati Reds lineup this season, but has been platooned more times than not when a left-handed pitcher is on the bump, or at the very least, has been moved down in the batting order.

Reds OF TJ Friedl showed he has not problem facing left-handed pitching.

Manager David Bell is always looking to exploit the pitching matchup, and even went as far to have a starting outfield of Stuart Fairchild (LF), Jose Barrero (CF), and Nick Senzel (RF) over the weekend against left-handed starter Rich Hill.

But with Jonathan India drawing a leadoff walk and the left-handed reliever Will Smith on in the ninth for Bruce Bochy's ball club, Bell made the decision to stick with Friedl. Initially, the idea was for Friedl to bunt India up to second base, but a wild pitch from Smith did that for him.

The at-bat evolved into an attempt to bunt India over to third base which would bring the winning-run just 90-feet from home plate. But once the count the reached 2-2, the bunt was removed. Smith's next pitch was a ball which made it a full count.

TJ Friedl then drove the pay-off pitch into the outfield and showed that he can create chaos without laying down a bunt. The outfielder was mobbed by his teammates and the Cincinnati Reds snapped their six-game skid.

Friedl has speed, a good approach at the plate, and enough of an arm to play center and left field on a consistent basis. There's absolutely no reason for Friedl to ride the bench, regardless of who's on the mound for the opposing team.

Friedl actually has a higher OPS (.842) against southpaws than he does against right-handed hurlers (.837). Friedl is a gritty, hard-nosed player from Pittsburgh, and the Reds need him in the lineuo every day.

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