For Cincy's 'Bash Bros,' HRs aren't everything

June 10th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- Reds outfielders and sit at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, atop the Major Leagues in hitting. Not all of their hits are glamorous, but this week, they’ve shown just how important those smaller ones can be.

During the Reds’ 7-3 win over the Brewers on Wednesday, hustle was responsible for their first two runs. In the bottom of the first inning against Brett Anderson, Winker chopped a ball between the mound and first base. He outran Anderson’s tag and was safe with a single. Next, Castellanos squibbed a grounder to a similar spot.

As Castellanos ran up the line, Anderson hurried a throw and made an error. Both batters later scored to give Cincinnati and pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez a 2-1 lead.

“Everything is important because at the end of the day, it all adds up,” Castellanos said on Thursday. “I think maybe just for Vlad to have confidence to go back out with a lead in the second inning, it’s giving him that extra wind or security he needed to do what he did.”

“Winker is going to get his hits; he doesn’t need a [55]-mph swinging bunt to get a hit, too,” Anderson said after the game. “The first inning, my stuff felt really good. Got weak contact. It was just some unfortunate hits there.”

The plays appeared to set a positive tone for the Reds during the game.

“When you can have as many players like that, especially guys that have been around and are core players on your team, I do think that they can set a great example and set an expectation for our team,” Reds manager David Bell said.

Castellanos entered Thursday batting .355/.412/.622 with 12 home runs and leading the NL with 33 extra-base hits. On Sunday, his 21-game hitting streak came to an end during an 0-for-5 game. Since then, he’s notched hits in both Tuesday and Wednesday’s games.

There was a long way to go before approaching Joe DiMaggio’s record 56-game hitting streak. Castellanos didn’t put too much thought into his own streak, which is the longest in the Major Leagues so far this season.

“It was cool. But I think it only becomes really cool if you get to 57,” Castellanos said. “I was pretty unaware of it until they started putting it on the scoreboard. Then it’s crazy. Your teammates see it and they acknowledge it after games and the media wants to ask questions about it. Fans start to recognize it. And all of a sudden, everybody starts paying attention to it. Honestly, I just want to [treat] each game as an individual game with the same importance. If I just happened to get hits in each of them, so be it.”

Aquino getting closer
On the 60-day injured list with a left hamate bone fracture in his hand, Aristides Aquino was five games into a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday. With four starts in right field and one as the designated hitter, Aquino was 5-for-15 with one home run and two doubles.

Aquino, who hasn’t played since April 13, is eligible to be activated on Sunday.

“I do think that the day he’s eligible to come off the 60, I think there’s going to be a strong consideration,” Bell said. “We’re going to consider adding him on that day. That has not been decided or even really discussed.”