• Wed. May 31st, 2023

Matt’s Take: India & Friedl duo, down on the farm, and Ja’Marr Chase’s father

By Matthew McAdow

Herald Contributor

India & Friedl Duo

When you think of the word “duo,” who comes to mind?  Bert and Ernie?…Michael and Scottie?…Kobe and Shaq?…Joe and Ja’Marr?….Well this Reds duo of Jonathan India and TJ Friedl should quickly be coming to mind, as they are quite the 1-2 punch and they are the “glue” for this Reds lineup through mid-May of the 2023 season.  Jonathan India, at age 26 years old, is having a captivating season.  With 146 plate appearances, he is batting .306, 12 XBH, and an OBP that is just shy of the .400 mark.  In his third season with the Redlegs, he is showing his ability to lead the team and has had key hits in big moments.  While his defense isn’t always the best at second base, his ability to put the bat on the ball is enough for me to want to see him playing in Cincinnati for time to come.  As for our beloved outfielder, TJ Friedl, is making quite the impression on the Queen City.  At 27 years of age, Friedl is slashing .319 to go along with 3 homeruns and 16 RBIs.  He has added energy, speed, and power to this lineup far more than what I knew he was capable of before the season started.  The next time you head down to the ballpark or tune in to a game, make sure to appreciate what these two are doing through the beginning of this season, as it has been truly remarkable.

Down on the Farm

After losing a disappointing series to a very poor White Sox team, I figured we could forget what happened this weekend by discussing what just happened “down on the farm” in Louisville, Kentucky.  In a game last week for the Louisville Bats, Matt McLain hit for the cycle to go along with 4 RBIs.  To make this even crazier, in that exact same game, Christian Encarnacion-Strand had 3 homeruns (423 feet, 452 feet, 385 feet)…Yes, you read that correctly.  To begin the year in Louisville, Christian is slashing .404 to go along with 7 homeruns and an OPS of 1.240.  He clearly proved to be the best Reds power hitter in Spring Training this year and I am trying my hardest to remain patient for his call-up.  Matt McLain at just 23 years old is batting .333 in AAA to go along with 9 homeruns and a 1.115 OPS.  He has 32 RBIs and from what I have watched or heard from others who have watched him, many believe he would step right in as the best Reds player on the team.  Many of you might be wondering why they aren’t up on the team yet, but there are many things to take into consideration such as service time, getting every day at-bats, and showcasing current players to turn them around at the deadline.  In my honest opinion, I believe they will be called up soon, as Cincinnati is still in the running in a very weak division.  My hope is that the lineup will soon look like the following:

C – Stephenson/Maile

1B – Joey Votto/Encarnacion-Strand/Steer

2B – India/McLain

SS – McLain/Barrero

3B – Senzel/Steer

RF – Myers (Until the deadline)/Need to work out Barrero or India here as well

CF – Friedl/Senzel

LF – Fraley/Ramos

DH – Votto/CES/Stephenson/Steer

Jimmy Chase (Father of Ja’Marr Chase) kindly joins Matt’s Take

Earlier in the football season, Jimmy Chase was kind enough to join Matt’s Take to give us an insight on what it is like being the father of the best wide receiver in the NFL.  Jimmy and I have been in touch throughout the season and I was happy to write up another piece regarding him and his son. 

Q: What is it like watching your son, Ja’Marr, flourish into one of the best receivers in the NFL?

A: “It is an awesome feeling.  Just watching your child achieve a lifetime goal and living out his dream…Then it was talked about as Ja’Marr being one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL History, it’s incredible.”

Q: What is your favorite memory of Ja’Marr playing football as a child?

A: “Remembering how no one could stop him then and seeing the same thing today.  He was always that high-energy kid and always one of the best players on the team…And he played for the love of the game.”

Q: What is something or some type of game that you could still beat Ja’Marr in?

A: “I don’t play video games with Ja’Marr.  He would never want to teach me how to play.  He just wanted to beat me so I wouldn’t play with him.  We are too competitive to play against each other.”

Q: What did you think of the Bengals draft?

A: “At first, I didn’t agree with the picks.  I would have preferred tight end, but looking back on it, I trust the coaches to know more than I would in those situations.  So today, I’m in with the draft picks.  They look like they got some good steals.”