This will likely be Bronson Arroyo's last start of the season. His last chance to bring home 15 wins for the second straight year. If he manages to do it, he'll be only the fifth Reds pitcher in the last 30 years to win 15 games in two different seasons (can you name the other 4?). If he can keep his ERA under 4.00, it'll be the second time he's managed that in a full season in his career, the other time being 2006. It's been a pretty good year for Arroyo. Hopefully he'll end it on a positive note.
In his last 5 starts against the Reds, John Smoltz has a 2.19 ERA. Then again, of his last 5 starts against the Reds, the last one was in 2007, 2 were in 2006, one was in 2005, and one was in 1999. Not surprisingly, only 6 Reds have previously faced Smoltz, and only Scott Rolen (38 PA -.265/.316/.500) and Willy Taveras (13 PA - .167/.231/.250) have faced him more than 6 times. Don't fret, Taveras is not in the lineup tonight as Drew Stubbs is leading off and in center field.
Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce are in the lineup though. The three have combined to hit .393/.455/.714 since Bruce came off of the DL on September 14th. If they had just done that all season, the Reds would be in a much better spot than they are now, that's for sure.
Instead, they are 2 games out of 3rd place, which isn't much of a goal at the start of the season but would be a pleasant accomplishment given how bad things looked three weeks in to August. The Brewers are currently in 3rd place and are in the middle of a series with the Colorado Rockies, who are trying to clinch a playoff spot. Third place can be had, but the Reds have to keep winning. That means tonight.