By: Tyler Dugan
Don’t blink, but the Cincinnati Reds are a half game back of the NL Central lead, and we are in May. It’s not like we’re one week into the season, we’re in the middle of May and the Reds are still in this thing. Dammit people, this is exciting.
This season was written off before it started. Before the first pitch of the season, much of the baseball world had the Reds etched in stone for 70 wins. And while those people still may end up being right, I can promise you this: much of the baseball world didn’t have the Reds in this position one month into the season. This leads me into my next point – there is nothing, and I mean nothing, more dangerous than confidence in sports. Confidence is a very dangerous thing, but irrational confidence is even more dangerous, just ask Lance Stephenson.
The Reds have that. This team started out 7-2, and I think the majority of this city said “good start, but we all know what is coming” and boy did it come. The Reds then went 3-11, dropping them to 10 and 13. That was the run, everyone thought that was the start of the shit show that was going to be the 2017 season. Not so fast.
The Reds answered that run by winning 7 out of the next 9. Unreal. Cozart had this take on the season so far: “Kind of reminds me of 2012 and 2013, that kind of energy, where you just show up to the park and expect to win.” Power quote. These guys want to be there, and now they have the confidence where they think they should win every single game.
How’d we get there? Hitting. Up and down the lineup, they hit. Peraza has gotten hot. Joey Votto remains a top five hitter in baseball. Duvall, Suarez and Schebler are power machines. Cozart is turning into an all around great short stop, and he currently has a top five BA average in the NL.
But the biggest reason for the success? Billy Fricken Hamilton.
He’s the Reds most important player. Here’s a stat for ya: in the Reds’ 17 wins, Billy has scored a total of 19 runs. In their 14 losses, he has scored a total of two runs. It’s a direct correlation of their success. He is so important.
Think of about this – way back in February if you asked people who the Reds best pitchers were going to be this year, you most likely would have heard Finnegan, Bailey and DeSclafani. One of those guys has barely played, the other two haven’t seen an inning yet. This team is winning and will be getting healthier and better.
The bullpen remains electric. Absolutely electric. The back end of it is just lethal. This team is just flat out fun. The don’t back down and they don’t shy away. They are confident. They believe they belong, and they’re showing it.
The schedule will stiffen. The Yanks are in town for two. Then we play a struggling San Fran, but after that we see the Rockies, Cubs and Indians. You wanna find out how good you are? Here you go. Buckle up folks. These young bucks aren’t just going to lay down.