Home runs playing a big part in Reds' hot streak

Jesse Winker ends slump with three-run home run against White Sox

The Cincinnati Reds have hit 79 home runs, the fourth most in the National League, in 52 games. Over the course of a 162-game season, that would translate to 246 home runs, a club record.

Home run totals have increased across baseball in recent years. No big-league ballpark has seen more of them since 2003 than Great American Ball Park. It surrendered 3,608 home runs from 2003-19. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (3,547) ranks second.

In that way, it’s no surprise the Reds might have set a record this season if they had more time. The current record of 227 was set just last year.

The power of the Reds has played a big part in them winning six straight games. They hit four in the first three innings Friday as they built a 6-0 lead against the Chicago White Sox. They won 7-1 to keep pace with the St. Louis Cardinals in the race for second place in the National League Central Division.

In the last six games, the Reds have hit 13 home runs. That’s the highest total in baseball over the last seven days. By comparison, in the 12 games previous to this winning streak, the Reds hit 13 home runs.

An offense that entered the season with potential thanks to the additions of Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos and Shogo Akiyama and searched for consistency throughout July, August and early September has hit its stride at the perfect time.

“Everybody’s getting hits, driving in runs, hitting homers, getting guys over, it’s been amazing," Jesse Winker said. “We’ve been playing really clean baseball. I’ve been watching it because I’m DHing. it’s been so much fun, man. This is the most fun I’ve ever had. It’s an incredible group of guys. It’s awesome.”

Winker hit a three-run home run in the third inning to give the Reds a 6-0 lead. Castellanos, Tucker Barnhart and Joey Votto preceded him with solo home runs.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

For Winker, it was his first home run since Aug. 29. He’s hitting .111 (5-for-45) since then. Until going 1-for-4 Friday, he was 0-for-21 in his last eight games.

“I just think that’s baseball,” Winker said. " Sometimes you miss. You hit balls right at people sometimes. These guys we’re facing are good, too. They execute pitches. That happens in baseball. I just think it’s all part of the game. Obviously, with this shortened season, personally you always want to keep it going, but realistically, we’ve all been around this game long enough to know you’re going to make outs. It’s all part of it."

With the six-game winning streak, which matched the longest of the last two seasons, the Reds improved their odds of reaching the postseason from 17.1 to 62.2 percent, according to FanGraphs.com. If the season had ended after Friday’s games, the Reds would have been in the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.

The sixth straight victory also got the Reds back to .500 (26-26) for the first time since they were 1-1.

“It was a great team win for us," Winker said. "We’ve been winning a lot of different ways. I think really good teams do that. We hit some homers tonight. The other night we won 1-0. The pitching staff and bullpen have been phenomenal. You just try to make a winning play any way you can.”

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