Vote for the Reds to win tonight's game!

Andy Lyons

A Friday headline.

The Reds face a stiff challenge tonight in Clayton Kershaw. He's been chewing up nearly everyone in the league, as per usual. To keep the West Coast game-winning offensive going, Dusty will need to eek out every advantage he can. Here are a few ideas:

Take a look at platoon splits
Though Kershaw's platoon splits are pretty even over his career, righties have been putting up only a hilariously bad slash line against him this season (.197/.247/.299), instead of the absurdly bad and hilarious line that lefties have put up (.130/.183/.167). He's firmly in Chapman territory there.

Similarly, Shin Soo Choo isn't doing anything besides recognizing the strike zone against lefties (.184/.327/.208 splits against LHP this year).

Here's the lineup I'd do, making reasonable concessions to the way Dusty does things:

Robinson CF
Heisey LF
Votto 1B
Phillips 2B
Frazier 3B
Bruce RF
Mesoraco C
Cozart SS

Votto and BP are the only Reds to have faced him 10 times or more and both have OPS'd over .900. Heisey has seen him 9 times and put up a respectable line (.250/.333/.375). Joey has two homers against Kershaw, though he's the only current Red with any.

Get ahead in the count somehow - you could annoyingly step out of the box a lot?
As with every pitcher in history, batters perform better when they're ahead in the count. But the difference becomes more important against a pitcher as stingy as Kershaw. Hitters have essentially been the same against Kershaw this season whether first-pitch swinging or 1-1. They're even slightly worse in 1-0 "hitters' counts." So laying off the first pitch isn't necessarily a virtue against a guy who only walks 2 batters every nine innings. But taking an extra pitch here and there on the chance you'll get a second ball rather than flailing at Kershaw's "get-ahead" stuff could be wise. Hitters post a .900 OPS when swinging on 2-1 counts.

Homer Bailey
Homer's been oddly less effective away from home this season, but A-Gon and Skip Schumaker are the only Dodger hitters who have seen him more than 10 times and hit him well. In conclusion: he threw a no hitter also.

Just have fun out there everyone
That goes for me, too. Except I'll be indoors and mindful of the fact that the game will probably be over after the bars close.

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