The Reds lost a game on 3rd place Milwaukee last night, so a loss today by the Reds or a win by the Brewers and the Reds will be blocked from third place for this season. A win by the Reds today or a loss by the Astros though will prevent the Reds from finishing worse than 4th place.
After being held down by Zach Duke in his first two starts against them this year, the Reds have beat up on Duke the last two times they faced him in September. In both starts the Reds scored 5 runs off of the lefty in just 6 innings pitched. Duke has been hit particularly hard by Drew Stubbs (.400/.455/.800 in 11 PA) and Joey Votto (.643/.667/.929 in 15 PA), who is likely physically aroused at the site of Duke when he comes to the plate given how well he has hit him. Having both players in the top 3 spots in the order should bode well for the Reds offense today.
Johnny Cueto's had a pretty good season and it'd be nice to see him get to .500 on the year with his record, if only for the "emotional" value of it. Even with having a terrible stretch in the middle of the year, he's knocked nearly a half-run off of his ERA and nearly a quarter run off of his FIP. It's definitely been a good year to build on, and I'm excited to see what he can do next year if he can come in to the season fully rested.
Brandon Phillips is still sitting on 95 RBI and Joey Votto is still on 24 HR. I'd like to see both of them to get to those nice round numbers (100 RBI and 25 HR) just because it makes the accounting that much easier. Need 2 wins in a row and 2 losses by the Brewers to tie for 3rd place. Gotta get it done tonight!