It is halfway through the 2020 season and the Cincinnati Reds are tied for third place in the National League Central Division. It’s not exactly an ideal position to be in especially midway through the 2020 season. However, don’t count them out quite yet. With an expanded playoff field to eight teams and also still being within striking distance of first place, the Reds still have a real shot. How can they do that? Well, it’s going to take a lot, but here’s how the club can still make a run.
Revamp the Bullpen
It’s no secret, the Cincinnati Reds bullpen is absolutely terrible. While of late it has seemingly gotten better, it’s certainly not going to help the Reds for a playoff push. They have some pieces that the club should keep around like Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims, but the bullpen needs to be totally revamped. While it was shocking to see Pedro Strop let go, it was definitely a signal to the bullpen that changes are coming. It is clear that Raisel Iglesias is not the same pitcher he used to be as it is now too risky to have him be the closer. Michael Lorenzen has pitched better of late, but he might still be somewhat of a liability. Nate Jones simply is just not cut out to pitch in the majors anymore and it might be wise to replace him.
The problem is the lack of options in their alternative training site. It might be ideal to bring up such pitchers as Sal Romano, Tony Santillan, Joel Kuhnel, Ryan Hendrix, Brandon Finnegan, David Carpenter, and Jose De Leon to see if they can’t stabilize the bullpen. The bullpen needs all the help it can get. While it’s never going to be its strong suit, it needs to be improved immensely.
The Offense Needs Life Injected Into It
The biggest shock of this season is the lack of production from the offense. What’s very clear is that when the offense clicks, the Reds can score a lot of runs. There seems to be a lot of balance in the lineup too, but for whatever the reason they cannot score runs. The team is having a lot of down years especially from key hitters such as Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez. If Cincinnati wants to win some games, those players need to pick it up.
Despite the mystery of the lack of offense, something needs to change. The front office has already addressed that by calling up Jose Garcia who will seemingly be the starting shortstop from here on out. Another idea might be to bring up catcher Tyler Stephenson to see if he can inject some life into the offense. There’s also Aristides Aquino whose power can make a huge difference, especially against left-handed starters. Either way, this offense needs to get going somehow and needs to fast, otherwise, this will be another wasted season.
Take Care of Own Business
This is the only simple part here for the Cincinnati Reds. The team needs to win games they have control over. Cincinnati is only one hot streak away from being not only in a playoff spot but battling for the division. The team can make up for their struggles if they play consistently the rest of the way. A small win streak would be nice as well. The team has a lot of talent especially with the additions of Mike Moustakas and Nicholas Castellanos during the offseason.
The starting pitching has been giving them a chance every game to win and the offense, once it gets going, can carry the team. The most important improvement needed is the bullpen. The offense knows it has the potential, it just needs to start clicking. Once Cincinnati starts to play well, they could be very dangerous to play. The club is also built for a deep playoff run, but right now the most important thing the Reds can do is just worry about winning games they have control over. The clock is clicking, however, and they need to get going.
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