1. The offense is hot
The Reds scored 27 runs in their first three games and rank second in baseball in runs per game (9.0). The Kansas City Royals scored one more run in their first three games. The Reds rank fifth in baseball with a .291 average. Last season, they ranked last with a .212 average.
“We obviously have a long way to go,” Bell said, “but I do think the way our offense is attacking, the type of at-bats we’re having, the confidence that is being built, it is important. It does confirm a lot of the work, and it’s nice to see the results. Our guys worked so hard last year, and the results didn’t show up. So when it does happen, a lot of good things can be built on the momentum and the confidence.
“So it is important even though it’s only three games. It’s a good team we played, and to get a couple wins and have the offense be a big part of it, it really couldn’t have gone any better.”
Nick Castellanos, of the Reds, is introduced on Opening Day on Thursday, April 1, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Credit: David Jablonski
Credit: David Jablonski
2. Nick Castellanos is hotter than anyone
Castellanos started his second season as the Reds right fielder by hitting .545 (6 for 11) in the first three games. He hit a two-run home run Thursday and a three-run home run Sunday.
Castellanos said he has seen “more energy throughout the stadium, more energy in the dugout and more energy amongst ourselves.”
3. Jonathan India is building on his spring success
The rookie didn’t disappoint in the first games of his career after winning the starting second baseman job in spring training. He went 2-for-4 as he made his big-league debut Thursday and hit .455 (5-for-11) in the first series.
“I’m definitely taking it all in right now,” India said. “A good series win for the team. An opening-weekend series that was all-around good team baseball. We hit well. We’re a dangerous team.”
Jonathan India interview (April 1, 2021)
4. The reserves produced at the plate
Aristides Aquino took over in right field when Castellanos was ejected for his role in a bench-clearing incident and hit a home run in his first at-bat of the season.
After Tucker Barnhart started the first two games at catcher, Tyler Stephenson started Sunday and went 3-for-4 with three runs scored.
Tyler Naquin earned his first start Saturday in center field and had a two-run single. He started again Sunday, this time in left field, and hit a three-run home run.
Naquin, who signed a minor league contract with the Reds in February, spent the last five seasons with the Cleveland Indians.
“I came south all the way to Cincinnati, and I couldn’t be happier to be here,” Naquin said. “This club, this staff and everyone has been extremely good to me already. It’s still early in this relationship, but I’m excited to be here and play for this team and this city. There are a lot of good dudes on this team that make it fun, and it makes the transition a lot easier.”
5. Two of the first three starting pitchers delivered
After Luis Castillo experienced the worst start of his career (eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings Thursday), the starting pitching improved in two straight games.
Tyler Mahle allowed two earned runs in five innings. Jeff Hoffman, making his first appearance for the Reds, allowed one earned run on five hits Sunday.
“Hoffman just continues to build his confidence,” Bell said Sunday. “He’s really comfortable. He loves being a part of this team. He had some good starts in spring training, but today was really good. That’s a great sign: to be at your best when the season starts. It was a really good quality start against a good team.”