After being two-hit by Matt Garza, the anemic Reds offense will look for a blood transfusion today as they wrap up their series against the Milwaukee Brewers. In doing so, the Reds will square off against the pitcher they are well-acquainted with: Yovani Gallardo.
Gallardo has bounced back thus far in 2014 from his 2013 campaign. The 28 year old right hander is currently sporting a 3.51 ERA and has logged 4 quality starts in his past five games, including one against the Reds on June 14. This will be the third time this season the Reds have faced Gallardo. In his most recent outing against Cincinnati, Gallardo went 7 innings giving 2 runs while striking out eight. Back on May 3, Gallardo pitched 6 innings while giving up 4 runs in Sinsee Town. Similarly, in his last start against the Rockies on June 29, Gallardo struggled through five innings where he gave up 5 runs and struck out 3. Here's to hoping that Yovani's next start mirrors his last start.
In order for that performance to reoccur, the Reds will need to pick up the pace on offense. The Reds have been shut out 3 times in the past 5 games; twice against the awful Padres and once against the awful-looking Matt Garza. In order for the Reds to improve, someone, and I mean someone, will need to break out of their slump. Whether that's Jay Bruce or any-Red-not-Named-Skip remains to be seen. If I were a gambling man, I'd say that Brandon Phillips would be best candidate for this. Phillips has faced Gallardo more than any other player in Yovani's career and sports a .902 OPS against him during that time, including 2 home runs and a .351 batting average. Bruce, Ludwick, and Frazier all have similar favorable career numbers. I would mention Joey Votto's fantastic stats against Gallardo, but thinking about his injury bums me out like a Monday morning after a 3 day weekend.
Mat Latos will make his fifth start of 2014 this afternoon, looking for his second win after posting a 2.45 ERA and an incredible WHIP of .818 in his first 4 starts. While Mat has only struck out 15 batters in 25.2 innings this season, he has walked only 4 batters. Mat will hopefully provide the Reds offense the breathing room it needs to get clicking again.
Someone needs to tell the Reds that we didn't completely run out of fireworks this weekend and that nobody would get upset if they started hitting bunches of home runs at GABP. Also while you're at it, tell them that they should take back the game they lost yesterday in the standings to the Brewers. Even though that may make St. Louis happy.