For this week’s question of the week we decided to ask what it was that some of the writers were looking forward to following during September with the Cincinnati Reds.
Question: With the Reds essentially out of the playoff chase, is there a statistical chase from a player that you are going to be rooting for in the final month of the season?
Mary Beth Ellis: With all eyes on Aristides Aquino, I’m gonna sit back here in my strappy 80s lawn chair and root for Joey Votto to go about banging. His recent injury must have spooked either him or the trainers to last so long, and we’re now at the point in the season in which the beer has gone flat, the playoffs are the scattered dust of the baselines in the middle of the fifth, and football has intruded. But Votto is lower in nearly every category that counts as we stand here on Labor Day weekend– although his stolen base total has doubled over last year (from all of two to all of four.) So if all else fails, this sudden burst of speed might ease the loss of Yasiel Puig and Billy Hamilton on the basepaths.
Ashley Davis: I’ll be rooting for Eugenio Suarez to surpass Pete Alonso, Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich atop the NL home run leaderboard. Suarez hit his 40th home run on Sunday and is now three behind Alonso and Bellinger and two behind Yelich. The Reds haven’t had a player lead the league in home runs since George Foster did it in back-to-back seasons (1977-1978). In fact, the last Reds player to even finish in the top five of the National League in home runs was Joey Votto in 2010. Suarez is on pace to hit 48 home runs. Is it probable that he passes the other three? Maybe not. But it’s certainly possible. Now, someone just needs to tell the people who run the MLB Twitter account that he too is in the home run race.
Editors note: This was submitted before Eugenio Suarez was hit by a pitch on the hand and removed from the game on Sunday evening.
Jeff Carr: Hopefully today’s beanball does not place this in jeopardy, but I’m hoping to see Eugenio Suarez go for 50 bombs in a season. He has been on a tear, as of late, and just murdering any mistake that comes plate-ward. He’s already got the record for most homers by a Reds 3B, but I’d love to see 50.
Also, and this is probably going to happen very quickly, but I’d love to see Luis Castillo notch 200 Ks. He has been nothing short of phenomenal this year in taking the big step toward the A-word. Getting to 200 would just be another feather in the cap of 2019 for him.
Doug Gray: There are some good options to choose from. Aristides Aquino is chasing the organizational record for home runs in a season. So is Eugenio Suarez. But I’m going to be looking at the pitching and another chase. I’m looking at Sonny Gray and hoping he can pitch in September like he did in August and make a run at the Cy Young Award. He’s facing tough competition for the award, and he’ll need a big final month to make it happen. But he would be the first Reds pitcher to ever win the award.
The team has had a few close calls. Well, sort of. Tom Seaver narrowly lost out to Fernando Valuenzuela in 1981. Two years later Mario Soto lost to John Denny, but that vote wasn’t close. In 1988 Danny Jackson was foiled by Orel Hershiser’s 59-innings without a run down the stretch, as he ran off with the award. In the 1995 season Pete Schourek was the runner up to Greg Maddux, who got all 28 first place votes. Then there was Johnny Cueto in 2014, who lost out to Clayton Kershaw who got all 30 first place votes.