Joey Votto returns to the lineup for the first time this month, and this Reds fan couldn't be happier. Votto returns home tonight to play in front of his 3 brothers and eat some home cooking. He didn't fare so well in the Reds trip to Toronto last season, going just 1 for 11 with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts as the Blue Jays took 2 out of 3 from the Reds. He has had success at the Rogers Centre this season though. During the WBC, Votto put up a .556/.600/1.111 line in Canada's two losses. That was about the time that Votto decided to make it known that he was going to do something special this season. Hopefully he can pick up where he left off at the end of May.
The Reds get to face a couple of old foes this series. Lyle Overbay is perhaps this biggest Reds killer this side of Lance Berkman, posting a .420/.491/.707 career line in 40 games against the Reds. Those numbers are only slightly higher than his .281/.364/.452 career batting line. Over on the other side of the diamond is Scott Rolen and his .303/.402/.591 career line against the Reds. Both players are guys that we all grew plenty tired of beating us back when they were in the NL. I'd like to see the Reds avoid such shenanigans during this series.
Another name to look out for is 25-year old Adam Lind, who is having the breakout season that Blue Jays fans have been hoping for since he came to the big leagues 4 years ago. Overall the Blue Jays have an excellent offense, averaging just over 5 runs a game. Their leading HR hitter is 2B Aaron Hill with 15, but they only have 2 regular starters with an OBP under .330. Reds pitchers are going to have their work cut out for them this series.
As for the Reds hitters? Well, they'll be facing the fourth stingiest pitching staff in the AL. Hey, you don't get to be 5 games over in the AL East playing with a crappy roster.