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This is where Hunter Greene takes the next step as ace of the Cincinnati Reds

The home series vs. Minnesota is on the line, as are the playoffs.

Cincinnati Reds v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

‘Up and down’ is perhaps the easiest way to describe Hunter Greene’s 2023 season for the Cincinnati Reds. He was poked around pretty good in his first start of the year against the then-upstart Pittsburgh Pirates, and threw a clunker at Coors Field against Colorado in early May. He flashed brilliance in fanning 10 Atlanta Braves in late April, however, just days before inking a contract that could pay him up to $95 million over its life to be the next face of the Reds franchise altogether.

A hip injury later stifled him before it sent him to the 60-day IL, and after a bumpy return from that in August, he landed on the COVID IL, too. Throughout it all, though, the rest of the Reds managed to piece things together effectively enough to stay within earshot of the National League playoffs, and Greene has responded with his own support down the stretch, too.

He has allowed just 3 ER in total across his last 3 starts, 17.0 IP in which he has fanned 21 against just 6 walks. He’s allowed a paltry .465 OPS against him in that time, flashing a more patient breaking ball with his elite heater to keep hitters completely off-guard.

Today, he’ll get the chance to take it to the Minnesota Twins as the Reds try desperately to keep pace with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs for the final spots in the NL Wild Card chase. In doing so, he’s got the chance to cement that he, at 24, is ready to pitch this club to heights that seemed unfathomable when the season began.

What do you call such a pitcher? Well, you call such a pitcher the ace of the staff, a champion this patchwork crew desperately, desperately needs right now.

Bailey Ober will start for the Twins in today’s series finale, and he’ll have to get past Joey Votto, who’s in the lineup again in what could well be his final homestand as a Red in GABP.

First pitch is set for an early 12:35 PM ET. Go Reds.

Reds Lineup

Twins Lineup