Here's a statistic that even the densest of baseball fans can wrap their collective heads around and enjoy: the Cincinnati Reds are 16-4 in their past 20 games. That's pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay good. Sure, they may be looking up at the standings to the Cardinals, but that's only because the wheels haven't fallen off the wagon in St. Louis. Once they realize they're old, injured, and have absolutely insufferable fans, that is likely to change. Until then, the Reds will have to make do beating up on the little kids in the schoolyard.
Today, the Reds attempt to leg sweep the proverbial and perennial runt on the playground in the Chicago Cubs. Who else better than to kick the Cubs while they're down than Johnny Cueto? Cueto will start for the second time today after coming off of the disabled list with a strained muscle. While Cueto failed to notch a quality start in his return against the New York Mets, he pitched well enough to qualify for the win and settled down a bit after giving up a 3 run home run. The Reds will hope Cueto can build on that momentum for his GABP homecoming.
Going against the Reds will be the oft-trade rumored Matt Garza. Like Cueto, Garza will be making his second start since returning from a DL stint of his own. In Garza's return earlier this week, he pitched five innings of shutout ball against the Pirates. If there was a pitcher in the Cubs rotation other than Kerry Wood and people who had to feed Charlie Weis mounds of German chocolate cake for four years, it would probably be Matt Garza. In other words, Matt Garza will probably be pitching for another club by August.
The Reds may be on the lookout for some right-handed heroes this game, as Shin-Soo Choo is in the midst of a slump and Joey Votto has only been able to muster up a lifetime .333 OBP in 12 plate appearances against Garza in his career. The only lefty with a bit of success against Garza has been Jay Bruce, who has gone 3 for 12 against the starter with a home run and three RBI. In addition to Bruce, Brandon Phillips may have to step up again. He's 4 for 13 lifetime against Garza with an OBP of .385. With Anthony Rizzo heating up for the Cubs, the Reds may be in search of another big inning against the Cubs to ensure a sweep.
To paraphrase the late Tim Russert, if it's Sunday, it must mean the Cubs are on the verge of being swept. They're not the worst team; but everyone thinks they're the worst. So, let's confirm everyone's beliefs. Sweep them, and then get ready for some fine Memorial Day action. Go Reds! They're my favorite team!
|Reliever||5/21||5/22||5/23||5/24||5/25||5 day totals|
|Aroldis Chapman||1.0, 18p||-||1.0, 22p||1.0, 13p||3.0 IP, 53 pitches
|Jonathan Broxton||-||1.0, 21p||1.0, 16p||2.0 IP, 37 pitches|
|Sam LeCure||1.0, 18p||-||1.0, 13p||2.0 IP, 31 pitches
|J.J. Hoover||0.1, 3p||-||0.1 IP, 3 pitches
|Logan Ondrusek||1.0, 14p||-||1.0, 13p||2.0 IP, 27 pitches
||-||0.0 IP, 0 pitches|
|Alfredo Simon||1.0, 15p||-||
1.0 IP, 15 pitches