The Reds make their first trip into Kansas City since 1999 when the swept the three game series, outscoring the Royals 30-11. Much like the team in DC that the Reds just faced, the Royals are struggling of late. They've won just twice in their last 13 games, surrendering nearly 6 runs per game in that span while scoring just over 3 a game. As an added bonus, their ace Zack Greinke just pitched last night so the Reds will miss him during the series. This is another case where a playoff caliber team who is taking care of business will sweep or at least win 2 out of 3 in this series. Anything less will be considered a failure.
On the mound for the Royals today is right-hander, and former #1 overall pick, Luke Hochevar. Because of his draft prominence, Hochevar was rushed to the big leagues in just over a year after being drafted by the Royals. He pitched well in 4 outings in 2007, but struggled last year to the tune of a 5.51 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. This season he started the year in AAA where he was 5-1 with a 1.50 ERA, but since getting the call to the bigs in early May, he's been pretty bad, allowing 30 base runners in 18 innings, including 9 walks while striking out just 6 batters. He has shown some improvement over his last couple of starts though, including his last outing where he allowed just 4 hits and 2 runs over 6.2 innings against the Blue Jays. And one can help but figure that the Reds offense will continue to be a cure for what ails him.
Mike Maloney is set to make his second career start for the Reds after throwing a strong 6 innings in his debut last weekend. The Royals aren't particularly adept at hitting the ball, but they do appear to have a slight bit more success against lefties than righties. In particular, Maloney should keep an eye on Billy Butler, who sports a .965 career OPS against left-handed pitching, including 16 of his 23 career home runs.
Game time is 8:10 ET. There is a chance for rain again tonight, so get your umbrellas and parkas ready.