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Here are the Reds' top wins of 2019

November 26, 2019

CINCINNATI -- Over a 162-game season, each individual win feels good in the moment, but the grind of the daily schedule doesn’t allow for much marinating in the success. But in the big picture, each victory provides an opportunity to learn, to improve while gaining confidence. For a team that

CINCINNATI -- Over a 162-game season, each individual win feels good in the moment, but the grind of the daily schedule doesn’t allow for much marinating in the success.

But in the big picture, each victory provides an opportunity to learn, to improve while gaining confidence. For a team that wanted to break free from the sludge of rebuilding, the Reds hoped 2019 would provide a more competitive season. That happened for a while until prolonged a second-half fade.

With reaching the postseason the goal for 2020, there were five wins in the previous season that stood out for the quality of the performances and how Cincinnati can build from them going forward:

1. Offense comes together in a big comeback
July 13 vs. Rockies

In a game that tied their season’s biggest comeback of the year, the Reds battled back from a 4-0 deficit to take a 17-9 victory over the Rockies at Coors Field that saw the offense erupt throughout their lineup. With a season high in runs and hits (24), Cincinnati had three different players one hit shy of the cycle, including Nick Senzel and Phillip Ervin, who needed a homer. Ervin tied a club record with six hits, and the Reds became the first team in the modern era with at least five triples and three home runs in a game.

What it tells us about 2020: Cincinnati’s offense often disappointed throughout the season, and adding run producers has become a primary focus of the offseason for the front office. Games like these showed the team that there was some octane in the lineup. By adding to the core, the Reds have a chance to starting outhitting their opponents.

2. Wild finish caps comeback vs. Crew
July 2 vs. Brewers

One-run losses burned the Reds a Major League-high 33 times in 2019, but this 5-4 victory over Milwaukee in 11 innings at Great American Ball Park went Cincinnati’s way. The Reds trailed, 4-2, in the seventh inning. In the bottom of the 11th, a poorly executed cutoff throw by the Brewers on a soft single allowed Yasiel Puig to score the winning run with an exciting slide at the plate.

What it tells us about 2020: These were the kind of games in which the Reds became battle-tested. That kind of in-game, under-pressure experience should help when the Reds are locked into future tight battles with high-leverage moments.

3. Lorenzen’s got you, Babe
Sept. 4 vs. Phillies

In an 8-5 home victory over Philadelphia, Michael Lorenzen became the first player to earn the win, hit a home run and play in the field in the same game since Babe Ruth in 1921. Lorenzen was charged with a blown save in the seventh inning when he gave up a game-tying homer. But in the bottom of the eighth, Lorenzen slugged a two-run homer to get himself a win as a pitcher. He finished the game playing center field as Raisel Iglesias locked down the save in the ninth. A few days later, on Sept. 8 vs. Arizona, Lorenzen hit a walk-off RBI double as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth.

What it tells us about 2020: This was a game that best underscored the possibilities of carrying a two-way player like Lorenzen and how manager David Bell can best make use of him. Bell picked his spots when using Lorenzen at the plate or in the field, but he opened things up in September and liked the results. That should mean more opportunities for Lorenzen next season.

4. Rotation, lineup in sync
June 30 vs. Cubs

During an 8-6 victory at GABP, Anthony DeSclafani threw 73 pitches over six scoreless innings and Eugenio Suárez notched two hits, including a gargantuan 457-foot homer to the Pilot House boat in center field. The bullpen wasn’t crisp, but a four-run bottom of the eighth inning helped stave off a late comeback attempt by Chicago in the ninth.

What it tells us about 2020: Throughout 2019, Cincinnati’s rotation often delivered brilliant starts with little backup from the offense. With DeSclafani expected to be the fourth starter behind Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer, the Reds should have a starting group capable of racking up wins if the lineup provides the run support.

5. Reds rebound from ugly brawl
July 31 vs. Pirates

Not many hours after a tumultuous bench-clearing brawl, multiple purpose pitches, several ejections and a blockbuster trade involving Puig -- all during an 11-4 loss -- the Reds regrouped against the Pirates the following afternoon at GABP. Amid two other deals that shipped out Tanner Roark and Scooter Gennett, Cincinnati took a 4-1 victory and claimed the series. Jesse Winker and Suarez hit home runs for an early lead. Over his seven-plus innings, Castillo gave up one earned run and six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.

What it tells us about 2020: It was a series in which Reds teammates had each other’s backs and Bell defended his players to the point where he attacked Pittsburgh skipper Clint Hurdle, bursting from the tunnel after he was already ejected. Despite some departures and, eventually, many suspensions, team unity strengthened. With the Reds’ nucleus the same going into next season, opposing clubs are on notice to not engage in beanball contests.