Several teams have proven they are among the most consistent in the league throughout the first half of the 2021 MLB season. Others, though, have been either hot or cold, and the Cincinnati Reds have been as streaky as they come.
Heading into the All-Star break, the Reds are coming off a huge series win over the first-place team in their division — the Milwaukee Brewers — and are one of the hottest teams in baseball. Their best player and National League MVP candidate, Nick Castellanos, knows it, too, as he sent a stern message to a Cincy hater after his team’s latest win.
Nick Castellanos and the Reds got a big series win over the Brewers
Going into their most recent series against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Reds were in second place in the NL Central division and six games back of Milwaukee for first.
Cincy lost the series-opener 5-3 but ultimately won the final three contests, and all by close scores. In the third game, Eugenio Suarez hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth to help the Reds win 4-3. In the fourth and final meeting, Castellanos hit a go-ahead two-RBI single in the top of the ninth, and Cincinnati won 3-1.
The wins not only gave the Reds momentum heading into the All-Star break, but they are now only four games back of the Brewers for first place.
Nick Castellanos had a strong message for a Reds hater
Castellanos is one of the most confident players in the MLB, and for good reason. He has backed up his talk with an NL-leading .331 average to go with 18 home runs and 59 RBIs; his play has made him a favorite for the NL MVP award.
Following the Reds’ series finale win over the Brewers, in which Castellanos brought home the game-winning runs, he had a strong message for someone who had been hating on his team on TV.
“It started before the game because there was some clown on the television talking s— about our bullpen,” Castellanos said on Bally Sports Ohio. “Karma’s real in this game. So, whoever that is — it’s a good lesson right there.”
It’s hard telling who exactly Castellanos was talking about, but Cincinnati.com noted that after the Reds’ nationally broadcasted game against Milwaukee on July 10, former MLB player and Fox analyst Nick Swisher suggested that the team has had impressive hitting, but not good pitching. Comments about the Reds’ bullpen were also reportedly made on the Brewers’ pregame show prior to the July 11 game.
Castellanos could have been talking about either instance, or he could have been referring to someone else entirely. But while his target was unclear, his message was not: Castellanos is confident in his team, no matter how much they have struggled at times throughout the year.
The Reds’ bullpen has recently improved after struggling significantly
The person who spoke negatively about the Reds’ bullpen was justified in doing so, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Castellanos was wrong.
The Reds’ bullpen has the fourth-worst ERA in the MLB, as it sits at 5.15, and they were at the very bottom of the league for multiple weeks. Had their relievers been pitching better throughout the year, there’s a good chance Cincinnati could be in first place over Milwaukee at the All-Star break.
However, the Reds are 24-14 since June 1, and in the past 30 games, their bullpen has posted the league’s fourth-lowest ERA at 3.17, per Cincinnati.com.
So, while the person who made the suggestion about the Reds having bad pitching is technically correct, Castellanos’ feelings are also justified because they clearly haven’t been watching his team’s pitching over the last month.
If the Reds’ relievers can continue playing well after the All-Star break, Cincinnati has a chance to be one of the most dangerous teams in baseball. Cincy’s batters have scored the third-most runs in the NL, and their lineup consists of dangerous hitters who can go yard whenever, as five players have hit 11 or more home runs this season, and three have hit 18 or more.
Cincinnati may have some doubters, but the confidence of guys like Castellanos has the team in a great spot to go on a run in the second half of the year. A successful Reds team is great for the MLB, too, as Castellanos’ play and confidence makes him one of the most electric stars in baseball. He is must-watch TV.