The Great Showdown: Cincinnati Reds Vs. Houston Astros Rivalry Unraveled

Kevin Smith

reds vs astros

The rivalry between the Cincinnati Reds and the Houston Astros has etched its place in the annals of Major League Baseball, spanning decades of fierce competition and memorable moments.

As two iconic franchises, their head-to-head matchups have ignited the passions of their devoted fanbases and left lasting impressions on the sport.

From legendary players gracing both teams’ rosters to thrilling extra-inning duels, the Reds-Astros rivalry is a compelling tale of historic successes, bitter defeats, and unwavering loyalty.

In this introduction, we delve into the captivating history and significance of this longstanding rivalry that continues to inspire excitement and enthusiasm among baseball enthusiasts.

History: Cincinnati Reds Vs Houston Astros

Establishment and Relocations

  • Cincinnati Reds: The Reds are one of the oldest and most storied franchises in MLB history. They were established in 1881 as an original member of the American Association and joined the National League in 1890.
    The team has always been based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is often referred to as the “Oldest Professional Baseball Team.”

  • Houston Astros: The Astros, originally known as the Houston Colt .45s, were established in 1962 as an expansion team.
    They played their first three seasons under this name before changing to the Astros in 1965 when they moved into the iconic Astrodome, becoming the first indoor baseball stadium.
    The team was relocated to the American League in 2013, becoming the first team in MLB history to switch leagues.

Championships and World Series

  • Cincinnati Reds: The Reds have won five World Series titles in their history. They secured championships in 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976, and 1990.
    The Big Red Machine era of the 1970s, with legends like Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, and Joe Morgan, was particularly dominant, winning two back-to-back titles.

  • Houston Astros: The Astros have won one World Series title to date.
    They captured their first championship in 2017 when they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in a thrilling seven-game series. This victory came after the Astros moved to the American League and saw a resurgence in the team’s performance.

Fanbase: Cincinnati Reds Vs Houston Astros

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds’ fanbase is known for its loyalty, and the team enjoys a deeply rooted and longstanding connection with its supporters. The Reds have a rich history as one of the oldest professional baseball teams, dating back to the late 19th century.

Their legacy includes iconic moments and a tradition of success, which has helped cultivate a strong and devoted fanbase.

The city of Cincinnati, Ohio, is deeply intertwined with its baseball team. Fans in Cincinnati often refer to themselves as part of “Reds Country.”

The team’s home ballpark, Great American Ball Park, is often filled with passionate fans, especially during crucial matchups and key moments in the season.

Reds fans are known for their knowledge of the game and their unwavering support, regardless of the team’s performance.

Houston Astros

The Astros’ fanbase, while also passionate, has experienced more fluctuations over time due to the team’s history as an expansion franchise and various changes in location and identity.

The Astros were established as the Houston Colt .45s in 1962 and underwent a name change to the Astros in 1965. In 2013, the team moved to the American League after spending its entire existence in the National League.

Houston has a sizable and dedicated fanbase, commonly referred to as the “Stros” or “Astros Faithful.” While the Astros have had their share of success and have fielded numerous talented players over the years.

Iconic Moments: Cincinnati Reds Vs Houston Astros Rivalry

The rivalry between the Cincinnati Reds and the Houston Astros has produced some memorable and iconic moments over the years. .

Here are a few of the standout moments in their head-to-head matchups

1986 Extra-inning Thriller

On September 18, 1986, the Reds and the Astros engaged in an epic 16-inning battle at the Astrodome in Houston. The game was a pitching duel, with both teams’ staffs refusing to give in.

The Astros were leading 3-0 going into the ninth inning, seemingly in control. However, the Reds mounted a remarkable comeback, scoring three runs to tie the game and send it into extra innings.

The game remained scoreless until the 16th inning when the Astros’ Billy Hatcher hit a walk-off single to secure a 4-3 victory for Houston. This marathon game showcased the competitive nature of the rivalry and the never-give-up attitude of both teams.

The Bench-cedeno Brawl (1973)

In a game during the 1973 season, tensions escalated between the Reds and the Astros when Cincinnati catcher Johnny Bench and Houston outfielder Cesar Cedeno got into a heated confrontation at home plate.

The incident led to a bench-clearing brawl that involved players from both teams. It was a heated moment that further fueled the intensity of the rivalry between the two teams.

The Big Red Machine Dominance (1970s)

During the 1970s, the Reds were a dominant force in baseball, known as the Big Red Machine. Their rivalry with the Astros was particularly intense during this era.

Led by Hall of Famers like Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Pete Rose, the Reds had several memorable matchups against the Astros during this period. Their head-to-head battles often had implications for the National League standings and playoffs.

The 1999 Nl Central Tiebreaker

In 1999, the Reds and the Astros found themselves tied for first place in the National League Central division at the end of the regular season. This led to a one-game tiebreaker to determine the division champion and the team that would advance to the playoffs.

In a dramatic and tense game at the Astrodome, the Reds came out on top, defeating the Astros 5-4 to secure their spot in the postseason. The significance of this game and the rivalry between the two teams made it a memorable moment for both fanbases.

Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th Strikeout (1989)

While Nolan Ryan was primarily associated with the Astros during his career, he also spent some time with the Reds in the late 1980s. On July 11, 1989, Ryan achieved a historic milestone in a game against the Reds when he recorded his 5,000th career strikeout.

It was an iconic moment in baseball history and added another layer of significance to the Reds-Astros rivalry, given Ryan’s connection to both teams.

Future Outlook: Cincinnati Reds Vs Houston Astros

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds’ potent offense, led by stars like Nick Castellanos, Joey Votto, and Jesse Winker, bodes well for their chances of staying in the playoff race.

If their pitching staff, especially ace Luis Castillo, can find consistency and the bullpen improves, the Reds will have a strong chance of catching up to the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

They may also explore potential trade opportunities to bolster their pitching depth and increase their chances of securing a division title.

Houston Astros

The Astros’ balanced team, with a powerful offense and solid pitching staff, puts them in a strong position to dominate the AL West.

Key players like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Yordan Alvarez will be crucial in leading the team’s offense, while Lance McCullers Jr.’s return adds depth to their rotation.

To maintain their lead in the division and secure a high playoff seed, the Astros will need to continue their consistent performance and stay healthy throughout the season.

Recent Performance: Cincinnati Reds Vs Houston Astros

Game 1: Reds 2-1 Astros (Jun 16, 2023)

  • A thrilling pitcher’s duel with Luke Weaver (Reds) and Ronel Blanco (Astros) showcasing their skills on the mound.

  • Corey Julks’ solo home run provided the only run for the Astros.

  • Jonathan India’s two-run homer proved to be the game-winning hit for the Reds.

  • Reds closer Tyler Stephenson secured his 20th save by striking out Jose Altuve in the ninth inning.

Game 2: Reds 10-3 Astros (Jun 17, 2023)

  • An offensive showcase as both teams combined for 13 runs and 21 hits.

  • Reds’ bats came alive, with TJ Friedl and Spencer Steer contributing two RBIs each.

  • Alex Bregman and Yainer Diaz drove in runs for the Astros, but their efforts fell short.

  • Reds dominated with a five-run sixth inning, sealing a decisive victory.

Game 3: Reds 9-7 Astros (Jun 19, 2023)

  • A dramatic back-and-forth game, with both teams exchanging leads multiple times.

  • Astros’ early lead fueled by four runs in the first inning, highlighted by Kyle Tucker and Chas McCormick’s RBI singles.

  • Reds’ resilient offense, led by Jonathan India’s two-run homer, kept them in the game.

  • Reds rallied in the tenth inning, securing the victory with three runs, including runs driven in by TJ Friedl and Elly De La Cruz.

Cincinnati Reds Vs Houston Astros Rivalry

1986Sep 18AstrodomeHouston4-3
1999Oct 4AstrodomeCincinnati5-4
2005Jul 17Great Am. BallparkCincinnati7-6
2011Jul 9Great Am. BallparkCincinnati10-4
2017Apr 4Great Am. BallparkCincinnati6-2
2017Apr 5Great Am. BallparkCincinnati2-0
2018Aug 30Minute Maid ParkCincinnati3-1
2019Sep 17Minute Maid ParkHouston4-1
2021Aug 31Minute Maid ParkHouston1-0
2021Sep 1Minute Maid ParkHouston5-4


When did the Cincinnati Reds and the Houston Astros rivalry begin?

The rivalry between the Reds and the Astros dates back to 1962 when the Astros were established as an expansion team.

Which team has historically dominated the rivalry?

The Cincinnati Reds have had a historically stronger performance in the rivalry, especially during their dominant “Big Red Machine” era in the 1970s.

Have the Reds and Astros faced each other in the playoffs?

Yes, the Reds and Astros have faced each other in the playoffs. Notably, they met in the 1999 NL Central tiebreaker, with the Reds winning to advance to the postseason.

Who are some legendary players associated with this rivalry?

Hall of Famers like Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Nolan Ryan have been associated with both the Reds and the Astros, contributing to the rivalry’s intensity.

What is the current status of the rivalry between the Reds and Astros?

The rivalry remains an intriguing matchup, with both teams competing in their respective divisions within MLB.

To Recap

The rivalry between the Cincinnati Reds and the Houston Astros has been a compelling and storied chapter in Major League Baseball history.

With their passionate fanbases, iconic moments, and legendary players, the matchups between these teams have captivated audiences for decades.

The Reds’ rich tradition and dominant “Big Red Machine” era have set the stage for intense battles, while the Astros’ recent successes have added a new dimension to the rivalry.

As the teams continue to compete and forge new memories, the spirit of competition and unwavering support from their fans remain central to the enduring allure of this captivating rivalry in the world of baseball.

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Kevin Smith

I am a dedicated learner who is constantly pursuing my dreams in many areas of life. I am a Finance major at the University of Maryland, a professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays and the owner of my personal brand, Elevate Baseball. I hope to inspire younger learners of all sports and interests to tirelessly pursue their dreams, whatever that may be. LinkedIn