The Cincinnati Reds have surged into first place, five-games over .500 for the first time since the signing of the Treaty of Amiens. They were greeted with a rare at-home day-off in between their homestand yesterday, and presumably had a helluva time at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Tonight things begin to get real. No longer are they being served juicy meat like ‘Colorado Rockies pitching’ or ‘the last place St. Louis Cardinals.’ Tonight, folks, the schedule flips into expert mode, with the Atlanta Braves in town to begin a five-week stretch that will mostly feature teams the Reds will need to slug around if they’re to keep this surprise season going in the right direction.
Atlanta’s good, y’all. Their +106 run differential is the best in the National League, Ronald Acuña Jr. might be fending off felow Brave Sean Murphy for MVP votes right now, and they’ve even done that typical Atlanta thing where they uncover a couple of Cy Young contenders out of thin air.
AJ Smith-Shawver is their latest revelation, the 20 year old having looked damn fine in his trio of rookie outings thusfar. He’ll take the mound for the Braves this evening opposite Luke Weaver, who has not looked ‘damn fine’ for quite some time. Honestly, if the Reds had literally any other starting pitcher healthy enough to go, Weaver would’ve been bullpen’d or DFA’d by now, but it is what it is as the rotation tries to tread water until their studs get healthy.
First pitch is set for 6:40 PM ET in front of what’s reportedly a sellout crowd at GABP. It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be raucous, and it’s going to be the biggest regular season game in a couple of years for this franchise - even if they’re wearing those awful City Connect uniforms again.
(That’s right, I don’t like them.)
You can get a lil’ fired up with us before first pitch by checking out the latest episode of Walks Will Haunt, which is embedded below this here period.