The good news is that we cannot get swept. The bad news is that we cannot sweep. This is the situation that results in a rubber game between two hotly contested foes in the National League Central Division. After Friday's thumping at the hands of the St Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati's hopes for regaining possession of first place this weekend were dashed. Meanwhile, the performances of Mat Latos et al. last night were exactly what the doctor ordered to stop a three game skid. The Reds may need a repeat performance from their pitching if they hope to take the series.
Fittingly, the rubber-armed Bronson Arroyo will pitch tonight in the rubber game against Lance Lynn. While Arroyo's career numbers against the Cardinals are pedestrian (8-15 with an ERA of 4.54), he has, from time to time, thrown a few gems against the team from St. Louis. Arroyo will face off against the master of the first half start, Lance Lynn. Lynn has thus far compiled an 8-1 record with an ERA of 2.76. In 2 of those wins, he has dominated the Reds, striking out 15 batters in 13 innings while walking only 3. But for his solid record against the rest of the league, Mr. Lynn would certainly qualify as Tomo Ohka All Star material.
In an attempt to explain away Mr. Lynn's dominance this season, I will point out that this is his first start at Great American Ballpark. That being said, this is the only real variable between this game and his previous two starts. The two Reds with the most success against Lynn are Brandon Phillips and Zach Cozart, so I would not be surprised to see Cozart return to the two-hole this afternoon. In nine plate appearances, Zach is 3 for 9 with an OBP mirroring his average of .333. Phillips also has an OBP of .333, but with an average of .375 (HUH?). Clearly, the career stats against the Cardinals mirror their perplexing success this season.
The Cardinals are somewhat old. Their fans are somewhat idiotic. Their beer is somewhat terrible. Frankly, I can see no rationale reason to root for them or enjoy any success they have. That's why I want to see the Reds win this series and become the mid-market team ESPN is forced to discuss after the Yankees, Red Sox, West Coast Teams, and their respective rivals. Oh, and because they're my favorite team! Go Reds!
|Reliever||6/4||6/5||6/6||6/7||6/8||5 day totals|
|Aroldis Chapman||-||1.0, 11p||1.0 IP, 11 pitches
|Jonathan Broxton||1.0, 16p||-||2.0, 20p||1.0 IP, 36 pitches|
|Sam LeCure||1.0, 24p||-||1.0, 16p||2.0 IP, 40 pitches
|J.J. Hoover||1.0, 16p||0.2, 10p||-||1.0, 16p||2.2 IP, 42 pitches
|Curtis Partch||1.0, 24p||-||
1.0 IP, 24 pitches (AAA)
|1.0, 24p||-||1.0, 16p||2.0 IP, 40 pitches|
|Alfredo Simon||2.0, 37p||-||
2.0 IP, 37 pitches