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Deja vu all over again: Reds at Phillies preview

Didn’t we just do this the other day?

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies just came home to face one of the better teams in the National League in the Mets and simply failed. They lost both games started by their top two starters, won the back end of a doubleheader, then failed in pretty spectacular fashion to close out Sunday’s game, giving up multiple leads over the course of the game. Now, they’ll face some pretty bad competition, starting with this week’s games against the Reds.

Cincinnati Reds

Record: 48-71 (4th in the National League Central)

The last time they met

Didn’t they just play some time last week? The Phillies took two of three from the Reds, losing their final game in a heartbreaking 1-0 fashion. They also lost their starting center fielder, so it wasn’t exactly one for the memory banks.

Who’s hot?

The Reds just went into Pittsburgh and took two of three, winning Saturday by a score of 10-1, and Sunday by a score of 9-5. Jake Fraley was a sparkplug atop the order for Cincinnati in those two games, going 3 for 6 with six runs scored, two home runs, five RBI and five walks. Donovan Solano had back to back 3 for 5 games as well, so they’re swinging pretty solid bats the last two days.

Who’s cold?

Since August 9, Aristides Aquino has gone 3 for 31 with 14 strikeouts and two walks. Once upon a time, he was a major power threat for the Reds, homering almost every time he came up as a rookie and looking like a steal for their future. Now, his OPS is down to .507 and he’s probably not long for a job much longer.

Hey, Phillies fans! You might get a foul ball from the first baseman now!

Joey Votto, noted villain here in these parts, won’t be making the trip to Philadelphia as he’s decided to have season ending shoulder surgery. A .205/.319/.370 slash line isn’t exactly something the team would be clamoring to remain the lineup, but he’s a presence nonetheless. Something positive out of the news is that Phillies fans might be able to get a foul ball from the Cincinnati first baseman, whoever that may be since Votto wasn’t exactly known for being “cordial” with the foul balls that came his way.

Baseball Players Anonymous

Below are the pictures of the team’s top players by WAR:

Two of the top three aren’t on the team, but are you able to name any of the other players? This is all according to plan, too, as the Reds have made it plainly obvious that they are trying to tear down the current roster and rebuild it into something new. As rebuilds go, it’s been pretty impressive as the trades they made both before the season started and at the trade deadline have netted them some pretty impressive prospects to help supplement what is already there. Does it make for some roster construction that only their mothers could recognize? Sure, but in a few years, if the prospects they acquired pan out at even a 60% rate, they’re going to be a pretty dangerous team.

Speaking of prospects

Since the Reds aren’t interesting on the field, have you looked at their farm system? One guy that is really interesting is Elly De La Cruz and for more than one reason.

Not only is he really good at what he does, but the demand for his baseball cards on eBay is absolutely astonishing. If you are into the hobby at all, you know that there is always a prospect whose rookie cards just absolutely blow up. In the past, it was Jasson Dominguez due to his “talent” and the fact that he’s in the Yankees organization, but have you looked at what De La Cruz cards go for?

I mean, my god. These prices are insane. The hobby has exploded again since the pandemic and subsequent quarantine sent people into their closets searching for old cards again, but this just feels nuts to me. Speaking as someone who has dropped a not small amount of money onto Mick Abel Bowman cards, I know what it costs to get these kinds of cards, but these prices are just insane. I really hope for the people buying these cards that De La Cruz turns out to be worth the investment.


I ain’t doin it this time. You’ll have to wait for the horse.

Non-Phillies thought

I’m beginning to think the Dodgers are inevitable. The Mets are a good team, no doubt, and the Braves probably have some kind of devil magic in them, but I watched a lot of the Dodgers-Marlins series. Granted, it’s the Marlins, but the Dodgers just don’t look like they can be beaten, especially once they clinch the top seed.

It’ll be big for them to avoid a team’s top starter in the divisional round since that starter will (probably) be needed to make it through the wild card round. Couple that with the fact that it’s a five game series and they’d only probably see that ace once, yeah, I’m not sure who can beat them. The Mets are their probable opponent in the NLCS and it would make for a fantastic series, but I think the steamroll that is the Dodgers machine will just continue to roll.

Series prediction

Taking a four game series is tough. Some call it a “sweep” while the more enlightened call it a “mop”. However you term it, it’s still really hard to do, no matter how bad the team coming in is. The Phillies, though, have something to prove after this Mets series. They seem like a bunch who know they played poorly this weekend and need to prove to themselves and to the fanbase that they are a good team and that they’ll take that out on the Reds. Phillies win three out of four.