The Cincinnati Reds were able to salvage one of their games against San Francisco. With a 7-4 drubbing of the Giants, the Reds got back to winning. Cincinnati is languishing in the basement of the National League Central. They start a four-game series with the Brewers on Thursday night. Some home cooking against the Brew Crew may get the Reds back on track.
The modest two-game losing streak was snapped with the power of the long ball. The Reds slugged four home runs off the Giants, en route to the win. Three of the homers came in the bottom frame of the second inning. With the surprising display of power, the Reds didn’t look like a team in the midst of rebuilding. They flexed the kind of muscle that some fans thought would be there all along.
First baseman Brandon Belt is on a torrid streak for the Giants. He led off the top of the second inning with a line-drive homer to right-center field. On his current tear, he’s average has climbed to .476 and his slugging percentage stands at a whopping .857.
The Reds had a serious answer in the bottom half of the frame. Brandon Phillips crushed a pitch into the left-field seats for his second home run of the year. Eugenio Suarez chimed in with a two-run homer to center. To round out the second inning fireworks, Zack Cozart joined the festivities with a two-run blast.
Suarez came back to life after being dropped to sixth in the batting order. The Reds’ third baseman responded with a three-hit day. Previously in the series, Suarez had gone 0-6.
“I like him in that position for run production, not for being disappointed with him in the two-hole,” Reds manager Bryan Price explained, via the Cincinnati Reds website. “We should have some guys out there for him to drive in with him further down in the lineup as opposed to eight, nine and leadoff, it’s not as many opportunities to produce runs.”
Cozart was back in the lineup and showed no signs of tendonitis in his right knee. After having surgery last year, Cozart was concerned about the possibility of another injury to the knee. He had a few doubts when he suffered some pain in Pittsburgh.
“When it initially happened in Pittsburgh, I was pretty nervous going into the testing because I didn’t know what to expect, but when they said everything felt strong, that obviously made me feel good,” Cozart candidly acknowledged, via the New York Times. “Now it’s just something I have to manage all year — just a little tendonitis. I’ll probably have it off and on. I just have to take a day here or there when I need it, but be ready to play every day. Those two days were good for me to have off. Today I felt great.”
Cozart is tearing the cover off the ball. Going into Thursday night’s battle with the Milwaukee Brewers, his batting average is .342.
Milwaukee seems to be struggling as much as the Reds. But, a good series against the Crew could help Cincinnati turn things around.
Alfredo Simon will be on the mound for the Reds. Chase Anderson will be toeing the rubber for the Brewers. Neither pitcher has performed up to standards. In fact, the bullpens for both teams should be on red alert.
The Reds (11-17) have lost all five games started by Simon (0-3, 13.50 ERA) while the Brewers (11-16) have blown the last three starts by Anderson (1-3, 5.55 ERA). Simon has yet to last past the fifth inning. Anderson has done so only once in his five starts.
“We know he’s the one veteran on a young staff,” Price said.
“He’s got to be the workhorse, eat up some innings.”
Hopefully, the Reds bullpen can help them get back to winning consistently. Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart is also expected to be back in the lineup.
[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]