Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012, 7:10 PM EDT
Great American Ball Park
TV: FSO-HD, FSMW-HD, (DirectTV "Free Trial"); RADIO: 700 WLW, KMOX
WEB: MLB.tv, Gameday Audio, Gameday
Partly cloudy. Winds blowing out to right field at 15-25 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 50.
It's tough to be upset about having Brandon Phillips around at roughly his current salary for at least the first third of that new contract. But this had better be the last of these. Aside from the debate over years and bucks - or because of it, I guess - it's overshadowing the real baseball that needs to be played. And guaranteeing money for players into years that sound fake (2022?) does not add any winning potential to this season. Winning now, of course, might make those contracts seem better later.
The Reds will try to avoid their first losing record of the season again tonight with Mike Leake on the mound. As we learned from last season's hard-hitting analysis, going "W-L-W-L" will not get this team to an NL Central title - even if it's a somewhat satisfying pattern. Though Leake comes off a shaky spring, he had an even worse spring + start to the season in 2011. After last season, Leake gets a little benefit of the doubt.
His biggest concern over last season is that he had bouts of being hit very hard. His straight fastball, which he doesn't throw very much, was down in velocity and he sometimes overthrew his slider. His cutter, meanwhile, can be painful to watch when it doesn't move. He'll have to be very careful with Berkman and Beltran - especially Berkman - who both hit righties better as switch-hitters. Suprisingly, no current Cardinal has hit a home run against him.
His opponent on the mound, former Red Kyle Lohse, comes off a superb start against the Marlins at the Opening of Miami God-sized Cigar Cutter, Lounge & Sports Emporium. He Cueto'd the Marlins, allowing just two hits and no walks over 7.2 innings.
Lineups after the jump. Ironically enough, BP is out of the starting lineup - but 2B bats first. Smart.
|Mike Leake (2011)
||Stats||Kyle Lohse (2012, 1 GS)
||ERA (ERA+)||1.23 (310)