The road back to .500 (and first place) gets a little bit easier. In the Mets, the Reds face a team exactly their equal in record and a whole three games worse in the Pythagorean. Among the points of interest in this four-game set, aside from Carlos Beltran and the embattled Mets franchise in general, is the knuckleballer RA Dickey. Despite the continued existence of Tim Wakefield in major league baseball, the knuckleball is something of an anachronism, even as simply a tool in a pitcher's back pocket. The Reds have never faced Dickey. And as far as I can tell (and I could be overlooking someone), the last knuckleball specialist to face the Reds was Wakefield in 2008. The team did did employ knuckler Jared Fernandez in '01 and '02, though he never faced the Reds in later stints with the Astros and Brewers.
Only Ramon, BP and Renteria have seen Dickey, with only a total of 9 PAs between them. Ramon has probably seen the most knuckleballs at the major league level of any player on the Reds. He's also may boast the most success against the pitch, going .310/.356/.571 against Wakefield in 45 plate appearances.
The Reds don't need to rip off 10 straight - though it'd certainly be nice - but they do need to prove that they can win 7 games in a 10 game stretch. They're 5-4 since the All Star Break. Winning the next two games would meet this arbitrary standard and put them on almost equal footing with the other three competitive NL Central teams.
|2011 - Mike Leake||8-5||23||16||0||0||0||0||100.2||92||46||46||11||26||73||4.11||1.17|
|2011 - R.A. Dickey||4-8||21||20||1||0||0||0||128.0||130||60||54||14||38||87||3.80||1.31|