Trade candidate Brandon Drury and the Reds look to keep the Marlins swimming upstream

Cincinnati Reds Brandon Drury
Cincinnati Reds Brandon Drury / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Reds Country, it's finally happened. For the first time since April 12th, your Cincinnati Reds (40-61) have escaped the basement of the National League Central. How long will the Redlegs remain out of the cellar? That remains to be seen. But, at least for one day, we can breathe a sigh of relief.

It's been a positive start to the second half of the 2022 campaign for Cincinnati following a 6-4 homestand after taking two of three from the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend. Amazingly, the Reds have gone 9-5 this season versus the American League East in a division where four of the five clubs are .500 are better.

For the second time in a week, the Reds and Marlins will be clashing with the scene shifting to the embarrassingly named loanDepot Park in Miami. The Reds and Marlins split their four-game set at Great American Ball Park last week.

Brandon Drury and the Reds look to keep the Marlins swimming upstream.

The post-All-Star break has not been as kind for the Miami Marlins (47-55) who have dropped six of 10 contests including three in a row over the weekend to the NL East division-leading New York Mets. Miami is posted a 13-15 July record and are 22-26 this season playing in front of their hometown fans.

It will be an upstream battle for the Marlins to finish above the .500 mark. The franchise has compiled just one winning season in the last dozen years and that came during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season when they went 31-29 and dispatched the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the playoffs.

Over the last decade, the Reds are 14-18 when traveling to South Beach. However, with a series victory this week, the Redlegs will capture their third consecutive season series over the Fish.

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Marlins

Cincinnati Reds starter Hunter Greene vs. Marlins starter TBD

Hunter Greene (3-12 5.59 ERA) takes the mound in tonight's opener. Miami manager Don Mattingly has yet to announce his starter. The Cincinnati rookie is coming off a solid start versus the Fish last week at GABP.

Tossing 6.1 innings, the 22-year-old right-hander limited Miami to two runs while fanning six. Even though he's surrendered 23 long balls in his debut campaign, Greene has been much better of late keeping the ball in the park. Over his last 17.1 frames, the California native has been taken deep just once.

Cincinnati Reds starter Graham Ashcraft vs. Marlins starter Braxton Garrett

Tuesday night finds Graham Ashcraft (4-2 4.64 ERA) toeing the rubber for the Redlegs while the Marlins counter with Braxton Garrett (2-4 3.96 ERA). Cincinnati's other right-hander rookie in the starting rotation had a decent outing as well against Miami.

In 6.1 innings of work, Ashcraft yielded three earned runs in addition to recording six punch outs. After compiling just five strikeouts over three starts, the Alabama native has whiffed 14 in his last 11 frames. Let's hope for more of that strikeout magic tomorrow night.

Southpaw Garrett Braxton was knocked around last week at GABP. Hurling five innings, he allowed as many runs on seven hits. However, the 24-year-old has been excellent in three starts at home fanning 23 in only 14 frames of work.

Cincinnati Reds starter Mike Minor vs. Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara

Wednesday night's series finale will feature Mike Minor (1-7 6.31 ERA) given the unenviable task of facing All-Star Sandy Alcantara (9-4 1.99 ERA) of the Marlins. Minor had one of his best appearances in a Cincinnati Reds uniform last week versus Miami.

Yielding just two runs, it was only the third time in 10 starts this season, that the Cincinnati southpaw has surrendered two earned runs or less. If you're looking for another positive regarding Minor, I have one for you. The veteran posted a 4.91 ERA in five starts in July following a 7.71 mark in June in as many outings.

To say the Reds will have their hands full facing Sandy Alcantara is an understatement. Additionally, don't expect the Miami ace to exit the game early. The right-hander has gone at least seven innings in 14 of his 21 starts this season including two complete games.

Slugger Brandon Drury has been the Reds MVP so far in 2022.

Cincinnati General Manager Nick Krall has been an easy target for Reds Country, and in more cases than not, deservedly so. However, credit must be given when it's due and his inking infielder Brandon Drury to a deal in March has been a stroke of genius.

Entering August, the 29-year-old slugger has already established a career-high in homers (20) and is just four ribbies away from matching his high-water mark of 63 reached during the 2017 season as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Additionally, Drury shows no signs of slowing down.

Over his last 30 games, the Oregon native is slashing .284/.349/.526 with five homers and 22 RBIs. Drury also brings versatility to the table. He's logged time at all four infield positions as well as right field.

Now comes the interesting question. Will Drury still be a Redleg by the time this series ends? If I'm a betting man, I say he will be traded before Tuesday's trade deadline. His bat and versatility can be a major asset for a contending ball club.

This brings us full circle and tip of the cap to Nick Krall for turning a journeyman infielder into perhaps a mid-level prospect from a squad chasing a playoff berth. Let's see what happens as we inch ever closer to the trade deadline.

Prediction: The Reds will let the Marlins off the hook in South Beach.

Can the Cincinnati Reds keep up their winning ways as they embark on their first road trip of the second half of the 2022 season? Not so fast my Redlegged friends.

Look for the Marlins to take two of three from the Reds before Cincinnati travels north to battle the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend.

dark. Next. Tyler Mahle drawing trade interest from this NL East team