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Fourth place is a possibility: Phillies vs. Reds series preview

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The Reds have a chance to avoid finishing in last place for the first time since 2014

Cincinnati Reds v Miami Marlins
Not too many smiles for Trevor Bauer in Cincinnati
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds have had a rough time of it in recent years. The previous four seasons saw them finish in fifth place in the five-team National League Central. But thanks to the ineptitude of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Reds have a very real chance to reach the heights of fourth place in 2019.

Cincinnati Reds

Record: 64-73, Fourth place in National League Central

The last time they met

The Reds came to Philadelphia in June, and the Phillies took the first two games. They had a lead in the third game, but thanks to shaky relief from Jose Alvarez and Vince Velasquez, the Phillies were unable to complete the sweep.

They did what now?

The Reds were one of the more active teams at the trade deadline. They sent away veteran pitcher Tanner Roark, receiving a prospect in return. Roark is a known mediocrity who is due to be a free agent at season’s end. Considering the Reds were a long shot for the playoffs, this was a sensible move. Less sensible was their participation in a three-team trade that saw them send away Yasiel Puig and two minor leaguers - including their top prospect Taylor Trammell - in exchange for Trevor Bauer.

The trade has not worked out well so far:

On the bright side, Bauer is still under team control for another season. I suppose that’s a lot of consolation when they see that Roark’s ERA is 3.30 since the trade.

Yasiel who?

I can’t really kill the Reds for trading away Puig. He’s been an average hitter for most of his career, and the trade opened up playing time for Aristedes Aquino who has quickly established himself as the best hitter in baseball.

It’s slightly reminiscent of Rhys Hoskins’ power show after his call up two years ago. Except, Hoskins was considered one of the Phillies’ top prospects while Aquino was non-tendered last season.

Before we get too worried, it’s possible that the magic is wearing off. Aquino hasn’t homered in four whole games. I’m not saying that he’s started on a Hoskins-like slump of his own, but it’s certainly possible.

Not gonna talk about Nick Senzel’s slump

There’s been an unfortunate trend of me discussing an opposing player who is slumping, only to watch that player turn around and have a big series. (Latest example: Todd Frazier) So I’m definitely not going to mention the struggles of Reds rookie outfielder Nick Senzel.

In the past, I might have speculated that Senzel had hit the “rookie wall” and that was the reason he’s only batted .150 over the past two weeks. But that kind of talk would have resulted in a 2 home run/5 RBI series from Senzel. So I definitely won’t write anything along those lines. However, I can’t control what his own fans say:

Oh, hi Freddy

I hadn’t realized that Freddy Galvis found his way to the Reds, but the Phillies shouldn’t feel too happy about seeing their former shortstop. In six games against the Phillies, Freddy has gone 10-22 with a home run. If he had ever hit anywhere near that well when he was a member of the Phillies, he’d probably be their current shortstop. Then again, he still seems allergic to taking walks, so they probably would have gotten rid of him anyway.

Freddy also caused a bit of a ruckus last week when he ran across the pitcher’s mound on his way back to the dugout. (It should surprise no one that this incident happened against the Cardinals.)

Welcome to Cincy, Corey

Maybe its the chili, or the...I’m struggling to think of something else Cincinnati is known for, (Early 80’s sitcoms?) but whatever the reason, Corey Dickerson loves to hit in Great American Ballpark. In 15 games there, Dickerson has a 1.426 OPS with nine home runs. He basically transforms into Mike Trout when he steps into the stadium.

He’s already hit three home runs there this season, and it would be really awesome if he could add to that total this week.

The other Reds pitchers

In addition to the aforementioned Bauer, the Reds will also have Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood, and Sonny Gray on the mound this series. Thus far this season, their performances could be summed up as: mediocre, bad, good. Will that matter at all when facing the Phillies offense? Probably not.

Prediction

The Phillies don’t always do that well against teams with losing records, and they haven’t won a series in Cincinnati since 2012. As the Reds continue their way to fourth place, the Phillies will trudge along to third as they split the series.