Cincinnati Reds: Best and worst of first half in 60-game season

Despite ups and downs, team still in contention for playoff berth

Eugenio Suarez created a motto of sorts for the Cincinnati Reds earlier this season when he wore a T-shirt that read, “Good Vibes Only” to a Zoom interview with reporters.

Suarez brings good vibes wherever he goes with his positive outlook, but it’s difficult during the tough times — and there were many in the first half of the 60-game season for him and his teammates.

“Winning is fun,” Suarez said. “Losing is not fun. When you’re winning, everything is good. When you lose, nothing is good, even if you have good vibes only. When you lose, it’s tough. We’ve started to play better. As a team, we stayed together. We never gave up. We just keep going.”

The Reds reached the midway of the season Thursday as they swept the Milwaukee Brewers in a doubleheader. The road trip — and the winning streak — continued Friday with a 6-5 victory against the Chicago Cubs.

With a 14-17 record through Friday, the Reds were in third place in the National League Central Division, one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals (11-12). The top two teams in each division advance to the postseason as well as the two teams in each league with the next best records.

As the Reds move forward in the second half of the pandemic-shortened season, here’s a review of what they did in the first 30 games.

Best hitter in first two weeks: Nick Castellanos leads the Reds with 10 home runs and 23 RBIs. He hit seven home runs in the first 14 games.

Best hitter in last month: Jesse Winker leads baseball with a .716 slugging percentage and ranks third with a .341 average. He began the season in a 2-for-25 slump. In August, he’s hitting .394. Winker ranks second on the team with nine home runs.

Best pitchers: Trevor Bauer is 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA in five starts. Sonny Gray is 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in seven starts. Gray leads the National League with 55 strikeouts. Bauer ranks third with 49.

Best reliever: Lucas Sims has a 0.69 ERA in 11 appearances.

Worst reliever: Michael Lorenzen has a 7.30 ERA in 10 appearances.

Best stat: Gray has continued his streak of starts in which he has allowed six or fewer hits. It’s now at 40 games. It’s the longest such streak in baseball history.

Worst stat: The Reds are tied for 27th in baseball in team batting average (.216).

Most disappointing hitter: Joey Votto is hitting .191 in 25 games. That’s more than 100 points worse than his career average (.305).

Votto is one of five starters hitting below .200, along with Suarez (.190), Shogo Akiyama (.183), Tucker Barnhart (.192) and Curt Casali (.190).

Biggest milestone: Votto hit his 287th career home run on Aug. 3. He’s tied with Tony Perez for the third most in Reds history. Votto has not homered since that game.

Best trend: The Reds entered a doubleheader Saturday with a 5-1 record in doubleheaders. Teams are playing seven-inning games during doubleheaders this season.

Worst performance: The Reds lost 13-0 to the Cleveland Indians on Aug. 6 and were limited to three hits.

Best performance: Wade Miley, Sims and Raisel Iglesias combined to hold the Brewers to one hit Thursday in the second game of a doubleheader. The Reds won 6-0.

About the Author