The Cincinnati Reds swept the Chicago Cubs in a three-game weekend series at Wrigley Field. With final scores of 9-0, 8-5 and 8-5, the Cincinnati offense lead the way all weekend.
The Reds collected a total of 45 hits in three games, including 17 extra-base hits. TJ Friedl, Jonathan India, Matt McLain, Spencer Steer and several others had massive offensive series’. Cincinnati sent a skidding Cubs team to the bottom of the NL Central and improved themselves to just four games back of first place in the division.
The Cincinnati bullpen had an outstanding series and the starting pitching was largely above-average. The Reds also escaped Chicago without committing an error while the Cubs made three errors throughout the weekend.
With that said, let’s break down each facet of the Reds’ sweep over their division rivals from the North Side.
The Reds came into the series averaging just 4.34 runs per game. They averaged just over eight runs per game over the weekend, and did so with the youth movement leading the way.
Rookies Spencer Steer and Matt McLain had weekends to remember. Steer logged a .357 batting average (5-14) with a double, triple and home run. He also drove in three runs, scored three more and threw in a walk as well. McLain hit .600 (9-15) with four runs scored, two runs batted in, one double and a walk for good measure.
Jonathan India had a multi-homer game in Saturday’s victory, Tyler Stephenson recorded five hits and TJ Friedl had two multi-hit games after sitting out the series-opener.
The young core is beginning to heat up. It feels like the Reds have some momentum for the first time since the 2020 season with Trevor Bauer and Nick Castellanos. Everyone is pulling in the same direction — and the 2023 team’s best player might be in Louisville right now.
Seriously, check out this monstrous home run Elly de la Cruz hit over the weekend.
For more on Reds’ phenom Elly de la Cruz, check this out.
Pitching has been a major weakness for the Cincinnati Reds this season. The starting pitching has been especially poor, particularly from a couple players that were expected to carry the rotation.
Hunter Greene began the first six innings of the series by not allowing a hit. Greene walked just two batters and struck out 11 Cubs, giving way to rookie Eduardo Salazar due to a high pitch count.
Greene was outstanding and is hoping to build on this start and put a tough May in the rearview mirror.
Brandon Williamson started game two and was only able to go 4 1/3 innings while giving up four runs. Williamson is still adjusting to major league baseball, so while his start was not spectacular, he gave the team a chance to win the game.
With the help of the bullpen, the Reds did just that. Buck Farmer, Ian Gibaut, Alex Young and Alexis Diaz combined for 4 2/3 innings of one-run baseball. They allowed just three baserunners and only one hit. The bullpen has quietly been growing into a strength over the past few weeks.
In the final game of the series, Graham Ashcraft took the mound for the first five innings. Ashcraft let three runs cross after giving up five hits and walking three batters. He has had his struggles, but a start like this on the road against a division rival is something to build on heading into June.
The bullpen was solid once again. Lucas Sims, Ian Gibaut and Alexis Diaz threw three scoreless innings with four strikeouts between them. Diaz struck out the side in the ninth for his 12th save of the season.
Kevin Herget gave up two runs in the eighth inning on a Patrick Wisdom home run after giving up just three runs all season in his nine prior appearances.
The Reds allowed just 10 runs in the three-game series. If this is a sign of things to come for the starters and the bullpen, Cincinnati has a real chance to make some noise in a subpar division.
The Reds are off to Boston for another three-game set at Fenway in their quest to get back to .500. The projected starters for Cincinnati are Ben Lively, Luke Weaver and Hunter Greene. If the Reds can take on of the first two games, they will have a great shot to take their second consecutive series.
Hunter Greene’s home/away splits are staggering. He owns a 5.18 ERA and has given up six home runs in 24 1/3 innings at home this season. On the road, he has a 3.41 ERA and has allowed just two home runs in 31 2/3 innings pitched. Giving Greene a chance to win the series would be a great spot to be in for the Reds.
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Featured image courtesy of Reds.com
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