Rookies rookie Aristides Aquino decided to have his first 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 crush a diner in three consecutive innings.
The Cubs seemed fundamentally unable to stop the man until Alec Mills hit him at 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 at log books. His quadrangular hat-trick placed him in seven dingers in his first 10 games, tying a mark set by Rockies Trevor Story shortstop. 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 good. That's why I did a show, so fans can enjoy it," Aquino said through translator Julio Morillo. "I enjoyed the moment."[…]
"First of all, the main thing is that I am not focused on my numbers. I don't think about what I have done," Aquino said. "The thing is to go out and win as many games as we can win."
If that is his mentality towards his individual performance on Saturday, it is safe to assume that he was probably not aware that he made history along with the phenomenon of the rookie of the Astros, Yordan Alvarez.
The rise of the rookie comes at a strange time in the National League, where teams that seemed to be out of the playoff competition are just a break from sneaking into the postseason. The Reds have won six consecutive games and 12 of their last 18, placing them six games behind the Cubs in the National League Central, and only 4.5 behind second place in the Wild Card race.
Conventional wisdom dictates that we must understand that this unholy tear will not last forever. But considering everything else that has happened in this real open battle of a conference, the possibility that Aquino is about to break the home run record in just a couple of months of game time should not be completely ruled out.