Time will tell if the Cincinnati Reds truly have arrived earlier than anyone could have forecast, but for the time being, their recent run of surprising success has generated ample enthusiasm
A 7-4 victory over the host Kansas City Royals on Wednesday gave the Reds their third series sweep of the season, and they improved to 27-20 since falling a season-worst eight games under .500 on April 23
Cincinnati opens a three-game road series against the Houston Astros on Friday riding a five-game winning streak while having claimed its last four road series and having won five of its past six series overall. The Reds last won five consecutive road series in 2014
The stunning run of victories has come despite the Reds playing 12 rookies in at least one game this season, with nine having made their major league debut in 2023
Cincinnati clubbed four home runs in the finale against the Royals, a big effort for a team that has the third-lowest homer total in the majors (57). The Reds have compensated by swiping 70 bases, tied for second in the majors
It all speaks to an exciting brand of baseball that has not only taken the league by surprise but also by storm.
“It’s a good feeling,” Reds rookie shortstop Matt McLain said. “We feel it. We’re America’s Team. It’s a good feeling.
Rookie left-hander Andrew Abbott (2-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his third career start for the Reds on Friday in the series opener
Abbott is the only Reds pitcher to begin his career with consecutive scoreless starts of at least five innings over the last 130 years. His 11 2/3 scoreless innings to begin his career represents the third-longest streak by a Reds pitcher behind Amir Garrett (12 innings in 2017) and Wayne Simpson (15 innings in 1970)
Abbott will be making his first career interleague start.
Astros rookie right-hander J.P. France (2-1, 3.54 ERA) will make his eighth career start on Friday. He earned his first victory in four weeks on Saturday after limiting the Cleveland Guardians to three runs on seven hits and six walks with six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in a 6-4 win
The six walks were twice as many as his highest in any previous start. France went 0-1 with a 4.84 ERA in the four starts between his first and second wins. Opponents recorded a .848 OPS during that span.
France is set to face the Reds for the first time
After absorbing his third blown save of the season on Wednesday, Houston closer Ryan Pressly surrendered a home run to Keibert Ruiz leading off the ninth inning of the Astros‘ 4-1, 10-inning loss to the Washington Nationals on Thursday
Pressly has allowed a run in five consecutive outings, including three earned runs among seven runs total during what has been a tough stretch.
“I thought he made a good pitch,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said, referring to the 2-2 slider from Pressly that Ruiz drove 389 feet into the right field seats. “Sometimes the hitters just hit you. It’s not always the pitcher’s fault. Sometimes they get you.
–Field Level Media