Reds rookie Aristides Aquino decided to have his breakout game against the Cubs on Saturday with three home runs in his first three at-bats, and a new record of becoming the first rookie to smash a dinger in three consecutive innings.
The Cubs seemed fundamentally incapable of stopping the man until Alec Mills struck him out in the bottom of the seventh, but not only was the score 10-0 in favor of Cincinnati by then, Aquino had already added his name a couple more times into the record books. His homer hat-trick put him at seven dingers in his first 10 games, tying a mark set by Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. He also became the second player in MLB history to have a three-homer game in his first 10 games. Cue the humble quotes:
“It’s really nice. That’s why I put on a show out there, for the fans to enjoy that,” Aquino said via translator Julio Morillo. “I enjoyed the moment.”
“First of all, the main thing is I’m not focused on my numbers. I don’t think about what I’ve done,” Aquino said. “The thing is to go out and win as many games as we can win.”
If that’s his mentality towards his individual performance on Saturday, it’s safe to assume he also probably wasn’t aware that he made history in tandem with Astros rookie phenom Yordan Alvarez.
The rookie’s surge comes at a strange time in the National League where teams that seemed to be way out of playoff contention are just a run away from sneaking into the postseason. The Reds have won six straight and 12 of their last 18, placing them six games behind the Cubs in the NL Central, and just 4.5 back from the second spot in the Wild Card race.
Conventional wisdom dictates that we should understand this unholy tear won’t last forever. But considering everything else that has happened in this open battle royale of a conference, the possibility that Aquino comes close to breaking the home run record in just a couple months of playing time shouldn’t be totally discounted.