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Jake Fraley returns to lead Cincinnati Reds against Houston Astros on Sunday

A sweep is on the line!

MLB: JUN 16 Reds at Astros Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If the Milwaukee Brewers fall to the Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon and the Cincinnati Reds, as they surely will, take down the Houston Astros, there will be a tie for first place the National League’s Central division.

The Cincinnati Reds will be in that tie, in that scenario.

That’s what’s on the line in the series finale in whatever they call the stadium next to the hulking husk of the Astrodome. Just in time, the Reds will welcome back their Viking of an outfielder in Jake Fraley, too, who was activated off the injured list this morning. The Reds announced the move on Twitter, noting that TJ Hopkins had been optioned to make way.

Fraley jumps back into the rockin’ Reds lineup in the 5-hole today, doing so because he mashes the crap out of RHP pitching. Lucky for Jake, that’s exactly what’s on the recipe today, as the Astros will roll out 29 year old rookie righty Ronel Blanco for Jake to take deep a time or three.

The Reds, meanwhile, will turn again to Luke Weaver. Weaver, who sports an ugly 6.23 ERA and 5.36 FIP so far this season, has somehow been even worse of late than he was earlier in the year. He has failed to make it through 5.0 IP in each of his last two outings and yielded 13 ER in his list 14.0 IP, with just a 12/6 K/BB in that span. The Reds, quite frankly, are going to need a) a helluva lot more from Weaver to get a win today and b) a helluva lot more out of this spot in their starting rotation going forward if they’re truly going to make the 2023 a surprise success of larger proportions.

Let’s get it rolling today then, Luke. Shall we?

First pitch is set for 2:10 PM ET. Go Reds.

Reds Lineup

Astros Lineup