We all remember the last time Luke Hochevar faced the Reds, right? In chase you don't remember it, it was a 9 inning, 3-hit gem where he threw only 80 pitches (that's right, EIGHTY pitches) just 364 days ago. It was a start that turned Hochevar's career around. Okay, not really. Since that start he's gone 10-15 with a 5.98 ERA. Obviously, he's somewhat improved on that mark this season, including going 3-3 with a 3.91 ERA in his last 7 starts this season.
After having 17 at-bats in that game last just 2 pitches or less - including an incredible 4-pitch inning in the NINTH INNING trailing by 3 runs with the top of the order at bat!!!! - one would hope that the Reds will come out with a better strategy against the former number one overall pick in the 2006 draft. The lack of Willy Taveras and Alex Gonzalez in the first two spots in the order should help. As you may recall, those two saw a combined 16 pitches in 8 plate appearances, and that included a walk to Gonzalez.
One player chomping at the bit for this series to start is Jonny Gomes, who has hit the Royals better than any other team he's faced, with a line of .367/.466/.950 in 73 plate appearances. Of course, that all amounts to voodoo basically since who knows which pitchers he's faced in that time (though he did hit a HR and a double in the game against Hochevar last year). Still, it makes me giggle to think of Gomes salivating at the sight of Royal blue. JONNY SMASH!!!
This will be the 4th time in history that the Royals have come to Cincinnati to play a regular season game. The two teams have split the previous 8 meetings 4-4. In fact, their historical series is a tie as well at 7-7.
I'd like the Reds to untie it with a win tonight because they are team that I am rooting for in this match!