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Elly De La Cruzless Cincinnati Reds play host to Milwaukee Brewers, Corbin Burnes


San Francisco Giants v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

No, the Cincinnati Reds did not call up Elly De La Cruz to start this homestand against the first place Milwaukee Brewers. Yes, they’re facing former National League Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes tonight. No, Spencer Steer - the team’s leader in dongs and second best hitter by OPS+ - is not in the lineup, either.

Kevin Newman, who has never once played so much as a single inning at 1B at any level of professional baseball, is starting at 1B tonight. No, the Cincinnati Reds have not called up Christian Encarnacion-Strand, either.

It’s quite the odd dichotomy in Reds-land at the moment. On the one hand, they’re four games under .500 and refusing to call up a pair of the most potent hitting prospects they’ve ever had. That .136 team ISO ranks 26th in all of baseball, too. On the other hand, they just won five of six on a road trip that took them through Chicago and Boston, and did so with small-ball fury offensively that brought them within 3.0 games of the division-leading Brewers.

Clearly, the long-view front office has been unphased, and we’re going to simply get what we get for the time being. That begins today, as Ben Lively toes the rubber again opposite Burnes in an NL Central matchup that one of these teams is going to have to win. Hell, one of these teams is going to have to make the playoffs!

First pitch in the afternoon delight is set for 5:10 PM ET, for some reason. It’s also televised on Apple TV+, for some reason.

Reds Lineup

Brewers Lineup