Redstockings longing to goetta spot in postseason

Cincinnati’s team looks to dispell notion 2023-24 will be yet another rebuilding effort

By Pat Gainor, Staff Writer

If you’re looking for an exciting mystery to solve this summer, look no further than the 2023 Cincinnati Reds.

A year removed from the franchise-worst 3-22 start to the season, the Reds – currently resting at around .500 – are one of the most inconsistent teams in the MLB country. One day, they’re dominating the Phillies and making the NL-contender Braves have to work for their wins, but on the other, they’re giving up crooked numbers and looking like they haven’t progressed an inch since last year.

About 20 games into the season, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly concerning about what this Reds squad can be. Let’s take a walk through this enigma of a baseball team and try to see what pays the price of admission and what holds this team back.

The Good – Jonathan India

After his sophomore season got derailed by a brutal ankle injury, Jonathan India has returned to action this season on his ongoing quest to be a reliable cornerstone of talent for a franchise in desperate need of one. The former Rookie of the Year’s hot start at the plate has shown off his wish in spades as he holds a team-best .316 average at the plate. India’s performance this year will be paramount to whether or not the Reds do more sinking than swimming in the standings, so this hot start shows promise that he can be a spark plug for this offense.

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Jonathan India leads the Reds with 15.07 runs created on the season.

The Good – TJ Friedl

Speaking of exciting young players that can hit, the young TJ Friedl is quietly becoming one of the most reliable hitters on the roster. The young outfielder has hits in all but four games this season, leading to an excellent average of .302 so far this season and, most recently, a 4 RBI outing to lead the Reds to an upset win over the Rays. With the Castellini’s notorious mishandling of prospects and talent, young blood that can hit comes at a premium – making Friedl’s presence on this Cincy squad a very welcomed one.

The Bad – Pitchers that are not named Lodolo or Ashcraft

Wow, the Reds have issues in pitching! What a shock!

Thankfully, it’s not looking to be as bad as last season, but the back half of the rotation look far from ace material. Nick Lodolo has come out looking like a stud and Graham Ashcraft has also been dealing in his first few starts, but that’s where the positives end. Hunter Greene has looked okay, but had to exit his start against the Rays with an injury. Luke Weaver is on rehab assignment for the foreseeable future, and his substitute in Connor Overton has not been the greatest of replacements.

Then there’s Luis Cessa.

The Ugly – Luis Cessa gives up 11 earned runs against the Phillies

Not kidding. Eleven. It’s been 20 years since a Reds pitcher has done that. And nine of those runs came in the first inning.

The Ugly – Joey Votto’s injury

Year 16 has been put on indefinite hold. On Sunday, the Reds’ first baseman announced that he was taking himself off of rehab assignment, saying his “swing is not there yet.” No timetable has been given for when he’ll re-enter his assignment to try and make a return to the Reds.

After tearing his rotator cuff, Votto has not seen the field since. – and t This delay in his timetable might not give him a chance to take the field this season. And with that severe of an injury keeping him sidelined for this long, the tragic day where the Reds legend announces his swan song is looking to be looming more and more by the day.