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Game 81 Thread: Reds at Phillies

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Cincinnati Reds
@ Philadelphia Phillies

Monday, Jul 6, 2009, 7:05 PM EDT
Citizens Bank Park

Johnny Cueto vs Cole Hamels

Partly cloudy. Game time temperature around 80.

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2009 - Johnny Cueto 8-4 2.69 1.12 78 32

2009 - Cole Hamels 4-5 4.98 1.47 77 18

When it comes to the Cincinnati Reds, Cole Hamels might just be the next Roy Oswalt. Hamels, who made his Major League debut in Cincinnati back in 2006, is 4-0 in 5 career starts against the Reds with a 1.25 ERA. In those 5 starts, Hamels has yet to allow more than 5 hits, despite the fact that 4 of the 5 starts went 6 or more innings (including 2 CG). Thankfully, the fact that Hamels is in the NL East means that the Reds won't have to face him more than a couple of times a year. It'll take a long time for him to get to Oswalt's record.

The good news about facing Hamels, if there is good news, is that the Reds are better hitters against lefties this year than right-handers. On the season they are batting .267/.333/.398 against left-handed pitchers, scoring an average of 4.4 R/G compared to 4.1 R/G and a .244/.317/.392 line against right-handers. This is helped by the fact that the Reds hottest hitter, Jonny Gomes, kills lefties and is in the lineup tonight. Gomes has never faced Hamels, but hopefully it won't matter.

Dusty Baker is trying something new with the lineup, putting his two struggling sluggers in the 7th and 8th spots in the order:

Taveras CF
Hairston Jr. SS

Votto 1B
Phillips 2B
Gomes LF
Hernandez C
Bruce RF
Encarnacion 3B

Look for Edwin Encarnacion to get on base 3 times tonight but not score. I understand why he is batting those guys so low in the order, but if he's going to do that, then he should bat Votto 2nd instead of 3rd so that he has a chance to come up with somebody on base. I know Encarnacion has struggled this season and is just coming back from injury, but I'm fairly certain that any pitcher would much rather face Johnny Cueto than Encarnacion and EdE has a good enough eye and is patient enough to take a walk. I'd be surprised if he puts a ball in play with men on base tonight.