Series Preview: The Phillies Without Numbers

Mat Latos is turning into a world-class hugger. - USA TODAY Sports

There are probably tons of Series Previews out there on the internet. Here's one that hopes to use zero numbers in its tex--- aww, dangit.

The "Stats vs. Scouts" argument is dumb, because even "scouts" types use numbers. RBIs, HR, wins, are all numbers you guys. So let's try to out-argue the argument. Let's just full daytime-talk-radio this joint. Let's preview the next trio of games without using a single number.

The Phillies are coming into this series in the middle of the pack in the NL East, only a few games below an equal number of wins and losses. This is because their hitting has been bad and their pitching hasn't been much better. The Reds, on the other hand, have won more than a handful of games in a row and have the penultimate record in the league (which is, unfortunately, also the penultimate record in their division). They've been playing great ball of late, but the Reds have yet to have all of their hitters locked-in at once (which is rare, anyways). But at least they don't have multiple Precautionary Tales in their starting lineup.

The Phillies lead off with Jimmy Rollins, who is starting slowly. Utley is having another great year, and Michael Young has been rejuvenated hitting behind him, even though he hasn't been getting XBHs. Ryan Howard is hitting like we all want Zack Cozart to hit. Except even the most pessimistic among us think Cozart oughta hit lefties. The lineup is rounded off by Dom Brown, Del Young, Chooch Ruiz, and Jon Mayberry. There is nothing remarkable to say about any of them.

The Reds you know by now. Frazier has been scuffling of late, but Bruce has turned it on. The latter is nice. Paul has been showing that he's not gonna simply just "be Ludwick", unfortunately. But still, things are solid enough. I'm a bit worried about Frazier and want to keep an eye on him moving forward, though. Despite my initial optimism about Hannahan, I don't think that he's any much more of an answer than, say, Derrick Robinson.

The Phillies' bench is: IF Franzen, IF Galvis, C Kratz, OF Nix, OF Carrera. The two infielders have been hitting and fielding quite well in a small sample size. That outfield, though, is just absolutely hot mayonnaise so far in the season.

As mentioned in a comment earlier today, if Xavier Paul and Devin Mesoraco are starting, the Reds have a trio of extra-base hits on their bench. This is not a good thing. I guess Lutz is the "power bat off the bench" but his bat has had a lot less wattage than his smile so far. To be fair, that is one high-megawatt smile.

Tonight, Tony Cingrani faces erstwhile ace Cliff Lee. Lee is having another brilliant season, and he is kind of the upper-percentile expectation for what Cingrani could become. Cliffly came up throwing a whole lotta fastballs, only rarely mixing in a curve or a change. Of course, once Cliffly starting throwing cutters for strikes, he became one of the nastiest pitchers in the game. He's kind of pulled a reverse Votto and made the decision to stop letting people walk. There's a decent chance this will be Cinnerman's last start in the majors for a while, but he's facing a high-strikeout team, so I'd like to see it be a good one.

Tomorrow afternoon, Arroyo goes up against Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick is having a heck of a season so far, but a lot of it could be discounted as "just early season noise." That said, he's hitting the age sweet-spot; he's keeping walks down and if he can keep hitters off-balance, he'll be fine. He seems like the type of pitcher the Reds beat the crap out of, though, so it'd be nice to see that happen tomorrow.

On Sunday at noon Central, a bit later than that Eastern, Homer Bailey will look to destroy the will of rookie Jonny Pettibone. Momma told me that if I had nothing nice to say, I shouldn't say anything at all, so I will not mention Pettibone's scouting report.

The Reds' bullpen has been it's usual dominant self, even while Sean Marshall takes an extended break to Monaco in order to further his diamond thief career. I guess that's what he's been doing because I haven't seen him on the mound in forever.

The Phill's bullpen has been weird. Papelbon has been allowing hits like Chapman, walks like Cliff Lee, and strikeouts like Mike Leake, so I don't know how that is going to balance out. Seems awfully Cordero-y so far. Bastardo and Aumont have good ERA numbers, but are allowing way too many baserunners. Horst is pitching like he feels bad for being traded for Wilson Valdez. They're probably gonna punt a game the Phillies deserve to win this series.

Overall, this is not a good team, despite the existence of some good players. Depending on how well Cingrani does tonight, the Reds could easily push this winning streak to more than it is right now. That would be nice.

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