Reds’ streak leaves them on doorstep of first place in NL Central

June 19, 2023  -Elly De La Cruz’s arrival gave fans in Cincinnati a reason to be hopeful about the future.

Then the Reds started looking like they might be contenders — right now.

It helps that they play in the NL Central, where everyone is one great week away from challenging for the division lead. And after eight straight victories, the Reds are only a half-game behind first-place Milwaukee. Cincinnati finished the week by sweeping a three-game series on the road against defending champion Houston. The Reds haven’t had a winning streak this long since 2012.

Cincinnati is 10-2 since De La Cruz’s big league debut June 6. The 21-year-old shortstop already has six stolen bases to go with his .273 average. Jonathan India, the National League Rookie of the Year in 2021, has reached double figures in both homers and steals, giving the Reds an exciting young infield tandem.

Although the mediocrity in the NL Central — where the top four teams are separated by only four games — is one reason the Reds are near the top, they’re also just two games behind the NL’s third wild card. Cincinnati is one of four NL teams currently on a winning streak of six games or more, along with Atlanta, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

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MEMORABLE DEBUTS

Saturday was quite a day for major league debuts. Kansas City’s Samad Taylor hit a walk-off single, giving the Royals a 10-9 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Zach Remillard entered in the middle of the game for the White Sox, and the 29-year-old infielder delivered a tying single in the ninth inning before putting Chicago ahead with a hit in the 11th. The White Sox beat Seattle 4-3.

The previous day, Emmett Sheehan of the Dodgers made his debut and threw six hitless innings before leaving the game against San Francisco. He’d been called up directly from Double-A.

TRIVIA TIME

Taylor’s hit snapped a 10-game losing streak for the Royals. Kansas City (19-52) and Oakland (19-55) are both on pace to challenge the modern record of 120 losses set by the 1962 Mets.

The Mets, however, do not hold the modern record for lowest winning percentage in a season. Who does?

COMEBACK OF THE WEEK

The Royals had to do a lot of work just to put Taylor in position for his big moment. They were down 8-2 before scoring three runs in both the seventh and eighth. Bobby Witt Jr. hit a two-run double in the seventh and a two-run single the following inning. After the Angels went ahead 9-8 in the ninth, Maikel Garcia tied it with a single for Kansas City, then scored on Taylor’s winning hit.

According to Baseball Savant, Kansas City had a 1.2% chance to win in the seventh inning.

LINE OF THE WEEK

Lance Lynn struck out 16 on Sunday — three more than any other pitcher in a game this season — although his White Sox lost 5-1 to Seattle. Lynn tied a franchise record for strikeouts.

TRIVIA ANSWER

The Athletics already have that record. In 1916, the Philadelphia A’s went 36-117 for a winning percentage of .235. The 1962 Mets finished at .250, and this year’s A’s (.257) and Royals (.268) are further ahead of the pace.

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