The Cincinnati Reds are one of those teams that are never near the bottom of the league, but they are also never near the top. Playing in a tough NL Central that includes three potential playoff teams in the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, and Milwaukee Brewers, the Reds never have it easy. The Pittsburgh Pirates, the fifth team in that division, is having a bit of an off-year, but they have been relevant in years past.
The Reds traded away their star outfielder in Yasiel Puig. Could this have been a re-building move? I am not sure. The Reds have a talented, young team that is highlighted on the offensive side by corner infielders Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez. On the mound, the Reds have Luis Castillo, former Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer, and former New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray. One of these pitchers has been on fire in his last two starts, and it is uncharacteristic of his performance with his former team.
That pitcher would be Sonny Gray. A guy who struggled during his time with the New York Yankees, achieving a 4.90 ERA alongside an 11-9 record in his 2018 season, Gray has done everything except struggle in his first season with the Reds. So far in Cincinnati, Gray holds a 9-6 record with an impressive 2.92 ERA, and has struck out 164 batters along the way.
Even more impressive? Sonny Gray has struck out 10 batters in back-to-back outings. Those are ace numbers. Some pitchers might not even reach 10 strikeouts in a single outing once in a season, let alone twice. While Gray is not considered the ace of the Reds staff, as that title belongs to Luis Castillo, he is certainly pitching like one.
While Reds fans should be celebrating Gray’s impressive outings and the fact that they have three number one pitchers in their starting rotation, they have some work to do if they want to make the playoffs. The Reds are eight-and-a-half games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central, and eight games back of the Chicago Cubs for the second Wild Card spot.
The Reds can continue to ride a hot Gray to a potential postseason berth. The future looks bright for Gray, and he should continue to pitch well. The Reds will need more, however. They will need Votto and Suarez to start hitting like the All-Stars they are. They will need other guys to step up. They will need Raisel Iglesias to continue dominating at the back end of the bullpen.
Will the Reds make the postseason? I am not sure. But Sonny Gray could be a key piece to a potential run.