There will be no rain in Cincinnati as the Phillies take on the Cincinnati Reds in a four game series beginning on Monday. The Phillies lost their one game to Florida Marlins and haven’t played since Friday. They begin a stretch where they play 33 games in 31 days with no off days for the rest of the season. The Phillies maintain a six game lead in the National League East over the Atlanta Braves. The Cincinnati Reds come in red-hot (See what I did there?) as they have won seven out of their last nine. They are coming off a sweep at home against the Washington Nationals. Despite their recent stretch, the 67-66 Reds are 13.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers. One could make the case that the Reds are the most disappointing team in baseball after coming off an National League Central division title last season. Offensively the Reds are led by last year’s NL MVP Joey Votto. Votto is hitting .325 and has an OBP of .440. His OPS is .994 which is 2nd in the National League. The only thing you could possibly nitpick about Votto’s season is that his power is slightly down. The ace of the Reds’ pitching staff is Johnny Cueto, who is 9-5 with a 2.05 ERA. Cueto is putting up a Cy Young worthy season with an ERA that is first and a WHIP that is fourth in the National League. The Phillies took three out of four from the Reds in May. That series will be remembered for the 19 inning thriller in which Wilson Valdez picked up the win and the fact the Phillies could not get Jay Bruce to save their lives.
Game 1- Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.44 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62 ERA) If you’re a pitcher and your name is Homer, you’re bound to fail right? The former first round pick, Bailey, has a career ERA of 4.94 and is only two games over .500. Homer has given up three runs or less in four out of his last five starts. In his last start in Florida, he gave up three runs in seven innings in a no decision. In his career, Homer is 0-2 with a seven ERA against the Phillies. Bailey pitched one game vs. the Phillies this year and wasn’t very good. He gave up four runs and ten hits in four innings on May 26th. Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino have had the most success against Homer Bailey. Howard is 4 for 7 with a home run while Victorino is 3 for 7. Cole Hamels is coming off the DL and will pitch for the first time since August 12th. He wasn’t very good against the Nationals, only going five innings, giving up six hits, three runs while walking a very un-Hamels like five batters. Despite the bad outing, Hamels is leading the National League in WHIP at a ridiculous .99. Cole made his Major League debut against the Reds in 2006 and has owned them ever since. In his career, he’s 7-0 with a 1.43 ERA including the NLDS clincher last season. Jay Bruce is hitting .267 against Cole with two home runs. Paul Janish is 3 for 10 against Hamels. The starting third baseman on the All Warren Hate team, Scott Rolen, is 4 for 14 against Cole.
Game 2- Bronson Arroyo (8-10, 5.02 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.56 ERA) Bronson Arroyo stinks and is probably a better musician than pitcher. His nine game winless streak ended when he beat the Marlins last Wednesday. Bronson has actually posted a 2.91 ERA in the month of August. Arroyo’s WHIP is terrible at 1.37 and leads all of baseball in home runs allowed. Bronson is 1-6 with a 7.13 ERA lifetime vs. the Phillies. He’s pitched once against the Phillies this season and as expected got pounded. He was pounded to the tune of nine runs and ten hits in 2 2/3 innings of work. It would take too long to post how many Phillies hit Arroyo well as the team hits .346 against him in his career. This start will be the first time in nine days since Roy Halladay has pitched because of the rain outs. Not much as changed in those last nine days as Doc is 1st in complete games, 2nd in innings pitched, third in WHIP, third in wins, fourth in strikeouts, and fifth in ERA. Halladay is 1-1 with a 3.03 ERA in the regular season against the Reds in his career. Doc also faced the Reds in the postseason last season and struggled mightily. Just kidding…he threw the second no-hitter in postseason history.
Game 3- TBA vs. Clif Lee (14-7, 2.71 ERA) Lee threw seven shut out innings against the Mets in his last start. He has given up two runs in 41 innings in August which will likely wrap up Lee’s second NL pitcher of month award of the season. The Phillies have won six of his last seven starts. Lee is 5-2 with a 4.66 ERA against the Reds in his career. He has a majority of those starts as a Cleveland Indian because the Reds are interleague rivals with the Indians. He did beat the Reds this season, giving up four runs in eight innings. Miguel Cairo, of all people, has the most success against Lee with 8 hits in 16 at bats. Scott Rolen is 8 for 17 against Lee, while Brandon Phillips is 6 for 19.
Game 4- Mike Leake (11-8, 4.04 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (9-1, 2.65 ERA) When Mike Leake isn’t trying to steal clothes from Macy’s stores, he’s a starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. (Whew, had to get that off my chest) Leake is unusual in the aspect that he went straight to the Majors after signing his rookie contract. In his last start against the Washington Nationals, he pitched six innings and gave up two runs. Prior to that start, he had given up nine runs in his last twelve innings pitched. He has 6.91 ERA in his two career starts against the Phillies. Hunter Pence has the most at bats against Leake and is 5 for 15 lifetime against him. Vance Worley danced around trouble early in his last start vs. the Mets, but came out victorious. He pitched seven innings and gave up a run. The Phillies have won his last twelve starts. Worley has one career start against the Reds and gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings against them in May. It was one of the two Vanimal starts the Philies have lost all year.