A Season of Inconsistency Continues for Cincinnati Reds

A Season of Inconsistency Continues for Cincinnati Reds

Tyler Vaysman
3 years ago
3 min read

Close to 50 games in, you are not going to find a lot of Reds fans who don’t use this word when it comes to describing the season:


Cincinnati has gone through hot stretches where everything is clicking, to long stretches of losing and looking completely hapless. And while every team in baseball experiences some degree of inconsistency, the Reds, in particular, have been plagued by it since Opening Day.

A Tale of Two Starts

It may feel like forever ago, but the Reds opened the season with fireworks and wins. Headlined by a dramatic encounter with the Cardinals on opening weekend headlined by Nicholas Castellanos’ strut over the catcher, Cincinnati went on an early six-game winning streak to jump out to a 6-1 start. During that stretch, they scored nine or more runs four times.

Just as fast as they started to heat up, the offense took a major turn in the opposite direction. The Reds then lost four of their next five and got shut out twice by pitchers like Luke Weaver and former Red Johnny Cueto. It only got worse from there, as a little over a week after winning six straight, Cincy lost seven straight, including a sweep at the hands of the rival Cardinals.

Playing Up (and Down) to Competition

In baseball, teams sometimes can elevate their levels to match up against superior teams while at the same time playing down to lesser competition. Simply put, the Reds have been one of those teams in 2021.

So far this season, the teams above .500 the Reds have played are the Cardinals, Giants, Indians, Dodgers, Cubs, and White Sox. Out of them, they have beaten the Cardinals, Indians, Dodgers, and Cubs in at least one series each while splitting a pair of games against the Sox. Only the Giants have owned Cincy this season, beating them in six out of seven meetings which includes a recent four-game sweep at Great American Ballpark.

Conversely, aside from the Pirates, Cincinnati hasn’t dominated other teams at .500 or worse. They have lost five out of six against the last-place Diamondbacks, split a series at Coors against the Rockies, and recently lost two of three to the Brewers to put them at a season-worst five games under .500.

It Falls on the Players

Ultimately, the inconsistency from the Reds stems from a roster that has not been able to find success on a regular basis. Aside from Castellanos, Jesse Winker, and Tyler Naquin, the rest of the lineup has struggled mightily. 

Eugenio Suarez has more at-bats than anyone on the team but is hitting just .150 on the year and recently moved into the leadoff spot in an attempt to change things up. Rookie Jonathan India started off his big league career hitting .325 through the first two weeks with several multi-hit games, but now he’s down to .221 with just two multi-hit efforts in May.

The rotation has been equally up and down. Ace Luis Castillo is just as likely to throw seven strong innings than he is to go just four innings with five or six runs allowed. Tyler Mahle is another example who followed up a season-best seven-inning start with a two-inning, seven-run performance, while Wade Miley literally went from throwing a no-hitter to allowing eight runs in just three innings just a week later.

Despite the inconsistencies, the Reds are still just four games out of first in the NL Central. But some stability from every position group on the roster will be needed for Cincy to overcome the three teams ahead of them in the divisional race.

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