The Reds hope the Great Offensive Explosion of 2014 continues today as they take on the Toronto Blue Jays in their series finale at Great American Ballpark. At the very least, the Reds will look to sustain offensive respectability, as that should be enough given that Johnny Cueto is slated to start for the good guys. That being said, nobody ever objected to the idea of insurance runs.
The Reds will find themselves squaring off against an initialed starting pitcher for the second straight day in R.A. Dickey. Dickey, most known for his knifey-spooney-lack-of-ulnar-collateral-ligmenty knuckleball, is sporting a 6-5 record this season with a 4.08 ERA. While his numbers are far from his dominant 2010 and 2011 campaigns, he can still give teams fits with the knuckleball. Despite Dickey's 3 years with the Mets in the National League where he pitched 600+ innings, the Reds have a limited history with the old right-hander. That notwithstanding, in those limited plate appearances, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Ryan Ludwick, and Todd Frazier have all hit home runs and have OPS numbers exceeding .875 each.
Cueto was unspectacular in his last start where he faced the Pirates. While he did manage to log a quality start, he needed 119 pitches to get through 6 innings. If he is going to make it through this quality Blue Jays lineup, he will need to be more efficient. The two players with an extended history against Cueto today are Colby Rasmus and Jose Reyes, leftover from their days in the National League. Rasmus, particularly, has had success against Cueto. In 26 plate appearances, Cheese has collected seven hits with an OBP of .385 and an OPS of .950.
Today's lineup indicates that Skip Schumaker, and his 3 for 8 record against Dickey, will be starting in centerfield today in place of Billy Hamilton, relegating the most exciting player in all of sport to pinch running duties if needed late in the game. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays will be doing without the oft-injured Jose Reyes. With Schumaker, Ludwick, Brayan Pena, Dioner Navarro (SUCK IT), END, and Edwin Encarnacion all expected to play, do not expect a lot of excitement on the base paths. However, do expect a Reds win! Go Reds!