New Era of Reds Baseball
As I watched the first game against the Dodgers on Tuesday, I could feel something different with this Reds team. The loud chants for De La Cruz, the walk-off from McLain – you could just feel the sense of hope in Great American Ball Park. But, as I visited Great American on Wednesday and witnessed another walk-off, it confirmed that we are officially in a new stage of Cincinnati baseball. As I looked around the roster on the field and could see De La Cruz, Benson, Hopkins, McLain, Steer, and others, I couldn’t help but think of the many “not so pretty” days of Reds baseball. Watching De La Cruz’ moonshot homerun and topping it off with a Benson walk-off for the second night in a row against the Dodgers, it was confirmed that it is a new day of Reds baseball…And it’s only just begun.
Throw that Bat Will Benson
I love watching emotion in baseball and Reds Country certainly got to see this on full display Wednesday, as Will Benson deservedly celebrated a walk-off homerun for his first career big league knock of his career. Will Benson has worked very hard to get back to this point, as he was optioned just on May 23rd. He even tweeted the following on the day he was optioned: “The lessons I learn from this game I will forever be grateful for. Give your heart to your craft and have a faith that stays grounded through the storm.” Since this recall, I would say he definitely has stayed grounded, as he is batting .346 along with a 91.1 average exit velocity on each hit. This should certainly quiet those that were displeased with his play to begin the season.
If you have watched Elly De La Cruz and kept up with him over the past few months, I am sure that you have heard him being referred to as a “unicorn.” This is certainly fitting, as I am honestly not sure baseball has ever had a player quite like Elly take the field. Yes, you read that correctly, as I am talking about the history of baseball. The switch hitting shortstop/3rd baseman who is in the 99th percentile in nearly every speed category, hits balls harder than anyone in baseball, and nearly hit one into the Ohio River has gave hope to a long awaited fan base. Do you remember when you would create a player on a MLB video game and turn the sliders up to 99 in every category? Well, that is exactly what Elly is. The future is bright in Cincinnati, as Elly truly has the tools to really be the face of baseball.
And It Has Only Just Begun
This lineup is scary for all opposing teams as it currently stands, but we are still waiting on the call-up for Christian Encarnacion-Strand. We can’t forget just how good he is playing and how he led the entire MLB in batting average for quite some time during Spring Training. Once he gets called up, along with the return of Votto, Friedl, and Senzel, this lineup will be one of the most dangerous lineups in all of baseball. While many are concerned about where certain players are going to play, we are reaching a problem that is good to have (Too many good bats). Enjoy the month of June everyone, as this month will certainly determine whether we try to “go all-in” at the deadline or if we are still some time away from being true contenders. Enjoy the ride, as this is the moment we have all been waiting on…And it has only just begun!