Despite somewhat higher hopes at the start of the 2019 season, the Cincinnati Reds aren’t going to make the playoffs this year. They will at least probably finish ahead of Pittsburgh in the National League Central division, which is always a badge of honor for a Cincinnati team, but there will almost certainly be no Reds baseball played in October.
But the Reds are still offering fans reasons to pay attention and keep coming out to Great American Ball Park. And we’re not just talking about getting The Avett Brothers to play a post-game concert (as they will this weekend). A pair of unlikely Reds players have notched some all-time milestone achievements in recent games.
Since being called up to the big leagues from Louisville by the Reds on Aug. 1, 25-year-old outfielder Aristides Aquino has been the epitome of the phrase “rookie phenom” (even though he made his MLB debut with the Reds during a brief stint last summer). Every few games in August it seemed like “The Punisher” had tied or broken some sort of league or team record, more than filling the void left when Yasiel Puig was traded to Cleveland.
Aquino’s homerun power was evident immediately after his call up. He hit nine homers in his first 14 games, the fastest player in MLB history to reach that number.
His 14 home runs in August were the third most for an MLB rookie in one month, putting his name in the record books behind Rudy York (who hit 17 during one month in the 1930s) and Mark McGwire and Aaron Judge (who each hit 15 in a month during their respective first years in the bigs). For National League rookies, Aquino now holds the most-homers-in-a-month record, surpassing Cody Bellinger, who hit 13 in June 2017.
Aquino also hit three home runs in three consecutive innings during an Aug. 10 game against the Cubs at GABP, which tied an MLB record. And, in the Reds’ record books, Aquino joined Greg Vaughn and baseball legend Frank Robinson for the most homers ever in a single month.
Aquino has only hit a single home run in September, but fans got another thrill this past week as pitcher Michael Lorenzen did something that only one other player in baseball history has ever done.
Lorenzen has proven to be a relative power hitter when compared to most of his fellow pitchers in the league — since 2015, he’s hit seven homers, second behind only Madison Bumgarner for the most by a pitcher over the past four years.
On Sept. 4, Lorenzen vividly called back to a time when pitchers did more than just pitch. During a game at GABP in which the Reds beat the Phillies 8-5, Lorenzen became the first player to — in a single game — earn a win in a game as pitcher, play another position in the field and hit a home run.
It was an achievement accomplished by only one other player in MLB history — Babe Ruth did it on June 13, 1921.
Can the Reds do any more damage to the record books with just 21 games left in the season? Stay tuned.