‘Confidence' man Aristides Aquino fleeces Cubs pitching

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What’s Aristides Aquino got against the Cubs? They do something to him as a kid?

When the Reds slugger hit a ball onto Waveland Avenue in the third inning Wednesday night, it was his 11th career home run against the Cubs in 28 games — then he made it 12 in 28 with one into the bleachers in the ninth.

He’s got 26 against everyone else combined in almost 200 games. In fact, five of his seven homers this year are against the Cubs.

For those scoring at home, that’s 32 percent of his career home runs against one team.

What, is he mad at them or something?

“Nah,” he said, smiling. “It’s just about confidence, especially when I play against them.”

But why them?

The soft-spoken big man can’t explain his uncanny knack for whacking Cubs pitching into oblivion, but it’s been utterly remarkable for a career .214 hitter with 100 more strikeouts than hits who’s just trying to stick in the big leagues.

A few more games against the Cubs and he might finally get that last part done after going up and down from the minors for four seasons.

“You know how it is,” Reds manager David Bell said, who said he’s so focused on helping Aquino establish himself that he didn’t realize his huge numbers against the Cubs until informed Wednesday night.

“Some guys just feel more comfortable in a certain ballpark,” Bell said. “Confidence is so important, and everything matters. So you have some success against a team or in a ballpark, you just feel more comfortable.”

Comfortable?

Aquino was 25-for-84 (.298) with a 1.124 career OPS against the Cubs entering Thursday’s finale of the three-game series against the Cubs.

His 12 home runs against them have come against 10 different pitchers. Nine have been hit at Great American Ball Park; three at Wrigley.

And the success was almost immediate, with home runs in his first three games against them as a rookie in 2019, including three homers in the third game.

“Maybe after that, that gave me more confidence,” Aquino said. “Because this game is about confidence.”

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