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Matt’s Take: McLain gets the call; Fraley’s power; .500 Baseball; Matt McLain’s father and Tim Daniel join Matt’s Take

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Matthew McAdow 

By Matthew McAdow 
HCP columnist

Mother’s Day is a very important day for many in the United States, as it is a day to honor, remember, and spend time with our beloved mothers. This is also a day that many will remember for quite some time, as it is the day that Matt McLain received the call to leave Louisville and head up to the Major Leagues.  

It was a thrilling moment for himself and his family, as he has put in the work and dedication to get to this level of professional baseball. This is a true steppingstone in the right direction in the rebuild process for Cincinnati, and I am ecstatic for the McLain family and the Reds organization as a whole.  

McLain is 23, was selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2021 MLB draft, and was batting .346 with 12 home runs in AAA this season to go along with an OPS of 1.178. It was truly time for him to get his call, and I am eager to watch him grow this season. I am hopeful that a few others join him in the near future.

* * *

Jake Fraley’s power

Jake Fraley had a huge impact over the weekend in the Miami series, as he crushed the ball and nearly single-handedly took the series by himself. He had three home runs in the series, along with a few clutch hits to keep the momentum going for Cincinnati. Fraley now leads the team with five home runs and leads the team with 28 RBIs. His 11 extra base hits, four stolen bases, and batting average of .267 is a huge reason why Cincinnati is having the success that they are currently.  

Fraley has been in the league since 2019 and is putting up better numbers than he ever did while in Seattle. I think he has found a home here in the Queen City and you can tell when listening to him that he seems happy to be putting on a Reds uniform each day.  

* * *

.500 baseball

The Reds are playing some good baseball right now and have quickly turned the season around after their previous six-game losing streak. While they are still second to last in the division, they are only four games away from .500 baseball and five games back from first place in the division (Brewers).  

The Pirates seem to be coming back to reality and this is a huge opportunity for Cincinnati to make a real push for the fairly weak National League Central Title. This, however, will come with some major hurdles, as Cincinnati lost possibly their best batter this week in TJ Friedl, lost Nick Lodolo for roughly a month, still haven’t seen a return in Joey Votto and are battling some issues with the pitching staff.  

If this team can continue to battle through rough starts and if they can continue to get success out of the bullpen, they really might make a surprising run this year. One of the biggest bright spots from this weekend was pitcher, Luke Weaver, as he threw an absolute gem against Miami. If he can continue to put up five innings and one-run games, he could quite possibly be the “X-Factor” that determines if the Reds can truly keep playing .500 baseball throughout the summer.  

Playing meaningful baseball in Mid-May is nice and I hope to see the success continue as the season progresses.

* * *

Michael McLain joins Matt’s Take

Michael McLain was kind enough to take time out of his exciting day as a father to talk baseball and talk about his son Matt with me on Monday. Michael is the father of the Reds new-and-improved shortstop and I could truly tell throughout the interview just how proud he was to be Matt’s father.  

I wanted to give a warm welcome to the McLain family and give Cincinnati a chance to get to know Matt even more than they know him already.

Q: How did it feel when you heard your son was getting called up to the Reds? 

A: "I was surprised, but I was hopeful that it would be coming soon. My wife was ecstatic, as it was a great Mother's Day gift. We were at USC watching our youngest son play. While he lost his game, this was a great moment for all of us."

Q: When in your son’s career did you realize he had the potential to be a big league player? 

A: "Probably 9th grade. I knew he had college potential probably at the age of 10 or so, but as far as professional, I'd say 9th grade."

Q: What do you hope to see from Matt in his debut?

A: "I hope to see him smiling, having fun, playing hard, and hopefully a Reds win."

Q: What are you most proud of with Matt outside of baseball? 

A: "Good kid, he's got a funny personality, well-spoken...As his dad, I am a little biased. He has always been good with kids."

Q: Who was Matt's favorite MLB player growing up? 

A: "I would say Mike Trout, but I'm not 100-percent certain. He has always been fun to watch and the Angels are close to where we live."

* * *

Tim Daniel joins Matt’s Take

If you follow Reds baseball and are active on social media, then by now you already have watched or listened to some of Tim’s fantastic work. Tim is a show host and journalist and is highly known throughout the community for his “Late Night Reds” podcast. Tim was kind enough to join me for a Q&A regarding Reds baseball through mid-May.

Q: What are your thoughts on the new City Connect jerseys?

A: “I love the City Connect jerseys. I am not necessarily in love with the cap, but I am a big fan of the ‘Cincy’ across the front and the fact that they went bold with their new design.”

Q: Who has been the most interesting person you’ve had on your show?

A: “A few weeks back, I actually got to interview Drew Stubbs on the show. I was such a big fan of those early 2010 Reds teams that he was a part of, so it was really enjoyable to discuss that time with him.”

Q: Who do you believe has been the most important player on this Reds roster through mid-May?

A: I feel like it’s been Jonathan India. He’s set the tone for the team with his leadership discussions in spring training and has been a great leadoff hitter for the team.” 

Q: How surprised were you with the news of Matt McLain being called up and what do you expect to see from him?

A: “Well I was recording my show when the news came out, so my excitement got to be live on air, which was really cool. But I expect him to continue what he’s been doing for Louisville. You can see the adjustments he made from his struggle last year, and the talent jumps off the screen.” 

Matthew McAdow is a graduate of Ohio Christian University. He lives in Peebles.

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