It's a tough week when you lose a game by eleven runs and it pales in comparison to the other terrible circumstances that have occurred over the past seven days. Even then, the Reds' 12-1 loss on Saturday does not inspire too much confidence as they head into the series' finale today against Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies. Lee is a deceptive 3-4 on the year with a 3.23 ERA and averaging 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Reds, as a whole, have struggled against Lee as much as any other team in the National League over the past few years. That notwithstanding, Brandon Phillips, the player with the longest track record with Lee, has seen the most success against the big left hander. In 35 career at bats, DatDude has an OPS of .914 with one home run, ten hits, a walk, and a strikeout. His performance against Lee is only eclipsed by Joey Votto but . . . yeah, about that. The hitters surrounding BP today, Chris Heisey and Todd Frazier, have sub-Mendoza averages of .182 and .125 a piece in their 21 combined at bats against Cliff. If Lee goes deeper in the game than Tony Cingrani, I would not be surprised to see a plate appearance by Great Person Brayan Pena, who has 2 hits in 3 career at bats or Roger Bernadina, who is 3 for 7 in his career against Lee.
Speaking of Cingrani, Tony Cincinnati returns from the disabled list today after experiencing shoulder tendinitis (the medical term for "starting rotation optimization"). Prior to his stint on the DL, Cingrani's performance was on par with Lee this season with a 3.34 ERA and an 8.9 SO/9.
Remember when we wanted to use the bullpen arms more? Welp, those calls were answered on Saturday when everyone sans Parra, Broxton, and Chapman appeared and made their own contribution towards soiling the bed. Cingrani does not have a penchant for being an innings eater, so we will likely see Parra and Broxton before the game ends. Hopefully, we'll see Chapman too. Because, after all, you don't use your best relief pitcher unless your club is leading in the ninth inning.
Go Reds! They're my favorite team looking to bounce back from a Scrabble's sized loss!