by Chris Ball

Loveland, OhioThe Reds’ excellent month of June rolled on against the Cubs this past week, even if game 4 of the series didn’t go as planned. In their 3-1 series win against Chicago the Reds held a 17-13 scoring advantage and collected 25 hits. They won in handy fashion but also squeaked out close victories under pressure. While the team’s 7 game winning streak came to and end, they have won 11 of 15 and still are in a great position to fight for a wildcard spot.

The difference for Cincinnati during this run has come from their ability to play complimentary baseball. We’ve seen both offensive explosions and well-pitched wins with just a few runs. The bullpen has been solid and it has lead to an excellent record in one run and tight games. Carson Spiers exemplified this on Sunday. He entered after Frankie Montas failed to make it out of the second inning. Spiers pitched 5.2 innings without giving up a run and struck out 7. Although the Reds couldn’t ultimately win the game and sweep the series, he held the Cubs in check and stopped the bleeding to turn what could have been a blowout into a winnable game.

The turnaround isn’t due to just one player, but several Reds have been key in bringing this team closer to contention after their struggles early on. Jeimer Candelario is hitting .273 over his last 10 games with 3 home runs. Tyler Stevenson had a .343 average over his last 10. But perhaps the most impressive is TJ Friedl who is still working his way back from injury but showing immediate impact. In his last 10 games back he’s hitting .265 with 11 RBIs and 8 runs scored.

During their 7 game winning streak the Reds batted .310 with 72 hits and 11 home runs. Though it may not be sustainable over the long term it did demonstrate what this offense can accomplish and how dangerous their hitters can be if healthy. Given that the Reds hit just .214 with 22 home runs in the entire month of May, it’s impossible not to be excited about what Cincinnati can do going forward after seeing their hitters dominate games.

After the loss to the Cubs on Sunday, it’s yet another opportunity to show that this Cincinnati team can bounce back and keep up the momentum they’ve built up during the early part of June. It wasn’t too long ago that this team lost a heartbreaking series to the Cardinals after their sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers. But instead of letting the season spiral out of control, they rebounded to start on the 7 game winning streak that electrified their fanbase and gave us all hope that this team could contend deep into the 2024 season. They’ll get a chance to do the same very soon.

Up next for the Reds, they welcome the Cleveland Guardians for a quick two game series. After that it’s a pivotal three game stretch in Milwaukee against the division leading Brewers which will be a litmus test for just how ready this Reds team is set up to contend for the crown in the NL Central. They will then finish the road trip for three in Pittsburgh before the Boston Red Sox come to town.

A new Loveland Magazine feature: The Queen City Sports Podcast by Chris Ball


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Christopher Ball is a longtime Loveland resident and an attorney. He graduated from Loveland High School in 2003 and was a member of the football team before going on to become a coach’s assistant at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He has been following and rooting for the Reds and Bengals since the early 1990s and has been through the many ups and downs that fandom has wrought over the years.

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