You don't often see nicknames for a subset of a team, but the Reds' 1939-40 infield of Frank "Wildcat" McCormick at 1B, Lonny "Leopard" Frey at 2B, Billy "Jaguar" Myers at SS, and Bill "Tiger" Werber at 3B joined forces to form the mighty Jungle Cats infield.** The JCs helped lead Cincinnati to the 1940 World Series title, where they beat Detroit in seven games. From a nickname perspective, facing the Tigers may have felt somewhat awkward for the Jungle Cats - particularly Werber.
These teams haven't played much since then. Cincinnati last saw Detroit in 2006, when it dropped two of three at Comerica Park. From what I can tell, Brandon Phillips is the only starting position player in that series from either squad who's still with his team. The two Reds losses involved an Eric Milton start, a Dave Weathers blown save, and a one-run CG loss by Aaron Harang. Ah, memories.
Hopefully this weekend's series will be less frustrating. Rick Porcello is having a standard Rick Porcello year, which means few walks, very few Ks, and a lot of balls in play. That skillset isn't served well by Detroit's new Fat Cat infield. Signing Prince Fielder meant not only downgrading 1B but also the hot corner, by shifting Miguel Cabrera there.
To make matters worse for Detroit, its top-heavy lineup has failed to produce a premier offense, which ranks just 9th in the AL in runs scored. That's certainly no fault of Cabrera's. He's been sizzling the last two weeks, slashing .385/.396/.846 in his last 12 games. What could be possibly be better than that? Oh right, Votto. He's slashed .558/.592/.860 during his last dozen. We've discussed at length the Votto-never-pulls-balls-foul myth recently, but the main point of Tom Verducci's article was that Joey Votto has a very credible case for being the best hitter in baseball right now. The only other contender is Miguel Cabrera.
If Arroyo can bob-and-weave around Detroit's big boppers, he should be able to steer clear of major damage and give the Reds a puncher's chance of TKO'ing Le Tigres. Lineups, etc. after the jump.
|Cozart SS||Berry CF|
|Heisey CF||Boesch RF|
|Votto 1B||Miggy 3B|
|Phillips 2B||Prince 1B|
|Bruce RF||Da Chicken Hook LF|
|Ludwick LF||Peralta SS|
|Frazier 3B||Laird C|
|Hanigan C||Santiago 2B|
|Latos P||Porcello P|
||5 day totals|
|Aroldis Chapman||1.0, 21p||-||1.0, 9p||2.0 IP, 30 pitches
|Sean Marshall||1.0, 13p||1.0, 7p||-||1.0, 14p||0.1, 6p||3.1IP, 40 pitches|
|Logan Ondrusek||0.2, 23p||-||0.0, 2p||0.2 IP, 25 pitches
|Jose Arredondo||1.0, 13p||-||2.0, 24p||3.0 IP, 37 pitches|
|Sam LeCure||2.0, 42p||-||2.0 IP, 42 pitches
|J.J. Hoover||0.2, 25p||-||2.0, 33p||2.2 IP, 58 pitches
|Alfredo Simon||-||1.0, 16p||1.0 IP, 16 pitches|
I can't figure out this bullpen log dealie, so here's last night's. I'd rather live in a world where Aroldis Chapman hasn't allowed an earned run, anyways. Speaking of Chapman, he could use a blow today. Marshall, too.
** Seems like we have a pretty good infield now. Maybe it's time to reprise the Jungle Cats moniker, or at least update it. The Thundercats Infield?