SAN LUIS – It has been a nightmare 2021 season for Reds third baseman Eugenio Suárez. But in the last month, the Venezuelan is beginning to show signs of the hitter he was before this year.
Suarez went 3-2 with a score in the second inning and a key hit opening the ninth inning of Cincinnati’s 4-2 win over the Cardinals on Friday. That continued a solid streak with the tree. The slugger entered Saturday’s game batting 15-6 (.400) with three homers and a 1,657 OPS in his last seven games.
“This last week has definitely been my best week of the whole year. I feel more comfortable. I feel like this is what I want to do for the rest of the season, ”Suárez declared Saturday on the field during batting practice. “Yesterday was a great day for me and my team. Help the team win. That is all that matters to me. I don’t want to think about the bad year. I just want to think about what we are going to do and where we are, help my team and make the playoffs. “
Suarez, 30, ranks bottom in the majors in batting average for .177-rated hitters; his .266 on-base percentage is second to last. He has a 66 OPS + but has hit 26 home runs and 70 RBIs, a unique season in terms of numbers.
Last month, after Mike Moustakas returned from the disabled list, manager David Bell reduced Suarez’s playing time. Now, the Venezuelan is being used primarily against left-handed pitchers, including Friday against left-hander Jon Lester and reliever TJ McFarland.
“I have no doubt that whatever happens, a lot of success is coming for him because of the way he’s handled this whole situation,” Bell said. “He has been an incredible partner. He has been through very hard times. It has been a very difficult year for him. The boy is used to being successful. He is used to playing every day. But it is the same person every day. Continue working. He wants to win and is there for his teammates ”.
Being seen as a good teammate has value for Suarez, who set a career-high 49 home runs just a couple of seasons ago.
“The most important thing for me is to be a good partner,” he said. “The guys are going to feel my support from the bench. I will do the best I can from the bench to let them know that I am here for what they need me ”.
Suárez is getting used to games like the one on Saturday. Despite his big night with the club on Friday, the Venezuelan was not in the starting lineup on Saturday when Moustakas appeared as third base vs. the right Miles Mikolas. Suarez is 6-for-11 with a pair of lifetime homers to Mikolas, but still, he stayed on the bench.
“It’s hard. I am an everyday gamer. Now I’m not playing every day, ”exclaimed Suárez, who has three years and almost $ 36 million left on his contract with the Reds. “I have to do my job as usual, but it’s a bit more difficult when you don’t have the rhythm to play every day. I assume it and understand it. Every time they give me the opportunity, I will do my best; I will give 100% and help my team ”.