Donnie Barrels and the Reds try to take a bite out of the Mets in the Big Apple

Cincinnati Reds infielder Donovan Solano
Cincinnati Reds infielder Donovan Solano / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages
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Following the All-Star break, the only team hotter than your Cincinnati Reds (44-63) are the National League Central Division-leading St. Louis Cardinals. After taking two of three from the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend, the Reds are 10-6 since the Midsummer Classic and have not dropped a series.

Entering play today, the Reds are a half-game in front of the Pittsburgh Pirates for third-place in the division. However, after capturing series victories from the Miami Marlins and the aforementioned Brewers last week, the road trip will offer its most difficult test over the next three days as the Reds visit Citi Field to take on the New York Mets (70-39) .

There's no debating the impressive weekend the Redlegs had, but the Mets sent a clear message to the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves that the 2022 National League East title goes through Queens. During a rare five-game set in the Big Apple, the Metropolitans were victorious in four of those contests and have opened a comfortable 6.5-game lead over the Braves.

Can Donovan Solano and the Reds keep their hot-streak alive vs. the Mets?

This Mets club will look slightly different than the one the Reds saw earlier this summer. At the trade deadline, they acquired Darin Ruf from the San Francisco Giants as well as Daniel Vogelbach, formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Of course, the Mets welcomed former Reds outfielder Tyler Naquin in a July 28th deal, and he's immediately produced dividends with two homers and a .348 average in 23 at-bats.

New York took two of three from the Reds in early July at Great American Ball Park. Additionally, Citi Field has not been the kindest of hosts for the Reds in recent years. Cincinnati will be looking to capture their first series in the borough of Queens since the 2018 campaign as well as their first season series victory over the Mets in nine years.

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Mets

Cincinnati Reds starter Justin Dunn vs. New York Mets starter Chris Bassitt

It's been a long time coming, but Justin Dunn makes his Cincinnati Reds debut tonight as he opposes Chris Bassitt (8-7 3.61 ERA) of the Mets. Acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the deal that sent Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker to the Pacific Northwest, the right-hander has been battling a shoulder injury since last year.

A former first-round selection of the Mets in the 2016 MLB Draft, Dunn was 5-4 lifetime with a 3.94 ERA in 25 starts as a member of the Mariners. The 26-year-old Boston College alum was traded to Seattle in the December 2018 deal that saw the Mets acquire Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.

Mets' starter Chris Bassitt is in the midst of his best stretch of the 2022 season. Over his last seven starts, the right-hander has compiled a 2.96 ERA in 45.2 innings, and just as impressive, he's gone at least six frames in each of those outings.

Cincinnati Reds starter Mike Minor vs. New York Mets starter Carlos Carrasco

Mike Minor (1-8 6,19 ERA) looks for his elusive second victory as he toes the rubber Tuesday night facing Carlos Carrasco (12-4 3.82 ERA) for Buck Showalter's club. Even though his record does not reflect it, the Cincinnati southpaw has pitched better of late.

Minor has surrendered three earned runs or less in three of his last four appearances. Additionally, he's seeking his first win over the Mets since August 28, 2014, when he was a member of the Atlanta Braves. In his last three starts versus New York, the 34-year-old left-hander has yielded four runs in 15 frames.

Carlos Carrasco and the Redlegs need no introduction. The former Cleveland hurler has dominated Cincinnati throughout his career posting a 2-0 record with an impressive 2.30 ERA in 27.1 innings covering five starts.

However, someone forgot to tell Cincinnati Reds legend Joey Votto who has been impervious to the right-hander's mastery. Cincinnati's future Hall of Famer is 6-for-16 in their meetings with a homer and two doubles.

Cincinnati Reds starter TBD vs. New York Mets starter Tijuan Walker

Wednesday's matinee series finale will feature Taijuan Walker (9-3 3.45 ERA) in the starring role for the Metropolitans. David Bell has yet to name a starter for the Reds to close out the series.

Walker was excellent against the Reds last month in GABP as he limited Cincinnati to three runs in six frames while compiling 9 K's. The only blemish on the right-hander's performance that evening was a three-run gopher off the bat of former Reds infielder Brandon Drury.

Donovan Solano has been terrific since returning to the Reds lineup.

During yesterday's television broadcast, color analyst Chris Welsh described Donovan Solano as a "magician" at the plate. Needless to say, the Cincinnati Reds infielder certainly played the part of a magic man in Cincinnati's 4-2 10-inning victory on Sunday in Milwaukee.

First, Solano produced an 8th inning double off the newly acquired Taylor Rogers, scoring Jonathan India to give the Reds a late 2-1 advantage. However, the 34-year-old Colombian was not done. After the Brewers tied in the game in the 9th sending it to extra innings, Solano's sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th provided the Redlegs their final margin.

The former San Francisco Giant has been excellent in his first season in the Queen City. Since making his Reds' debut on June 22nd following a hamstring injury suffered during spring training, Solano has produced a .298/.351/.446 slash line in 121 at-bats. In addition, when the nine-year veteran is penciled into David Bell's lineup card, good things happen for the Reds.

Cincinnati is a remarkable 18-12 when Solano's in the starting lineup. A free agent following this season, it seems almost a miracle the former Silver Slugger Award-winner was not dealt at the trade deadline, given his production at the plate and his versatility in the infield. Nevertheless, the Reds will continue to reap the benefits of Donovan Solano as the 2022 campaign reaches its conclusion.

Prediction: Mets stay hot, Reds cool off.

Needless to say, the Reds face an incredible challenge as they visit Citi Field to play an incredibly talented New York Mets ball club who are threatening to run away with the NL East crown. Will the Redlegs rise up in the Big Apple?

Unfortunately, Cincinnati will lose their first series following the All-Star break as the Mets take two of three to capture the series before the Reds make the trek to the cornfield in Dyersville, Iowa to battle the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in The Field of Dreams contest.

dark. Next. 3 pitchers, not named Diaz, who could be the Reds closer