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Thanks to TJ Friedl, the Cincinnati Reds can win the series against Chicago today

The OF has played his way into a leading role with the Reds this year.

Chicago White Sox v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

In a vacuum, it would be easy to forget the catch made by TJ Friedl to rob Andrew Vaughn of a would-be dinger. That happened all the way back on Friday, after all, and all Friedl has done since then is make even more highlight-reel plays.

(Here’s that Friday catch one more time, though, for old time’s sake.)

Friedl took control of things for the Reds on Saturday, socking a 3-run homer off Mike Clevinger to flip the scoreboard to the Reds favor and later adding an RBI-triple for good measure. He’s now hitting .324/.367/.486 on the young season, leads the offensive players on the team with 1.3 fWAR, 1.2 bWAR, a .370 wOBA, and 125 wRC+, and has become perhaps the most dependable player with the bat that the Reds can roll out these days.

Yesterday’s Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game has put the Reds in position to take another series against an American League team at home, and doing so would give the Reds a pretty stellar 11-7 record at home this season. We can gripe about how poor the team has looked on the road - and we will, later - but establishing that GABP is a tough place to play is a pretty important first step for a built-from-scratch club of inexperienced players, and that appears to be something that’s in the works as we speak.

Thanks to Friedl, in large part, that is.

First pitch in Sunday’s series finale is set for 4:10 PM ET, and will feature Graham Ashcraft plying his inimitable trade against former fireballer Michael Kopech, whose average fastball velocity remains down almost 2 mph from its 2021 high.

Stay tuned for lineups!