It's about to get serious up in this joint, folks. You may have heard that the Reds have had the weakest strength of schedule so far this season and are just 13-17 against winning teams this year. Over the next 14 days, their strength of schedule is currently .523, and that includes 4 games against the struggling Cubs (.440 win pct). Some are calling for the Reds to prove themselves. All I'm asking is for them to survive. Something like a 4-10 record could be disastrous. Over this same stretch, the Cardinals face the Diamondbacks, Brewers, Rockies, and Astros. We can't expect them to keep struggling. Even if we assume that the Cards are going to gain some ground, we need the Reds to make sure it isn't much ground. Keep 'em within an arms reach and then make up the ground when the schedule softens up again and the team gets some reinforcements from the DL and minors after the break. I'm hoping for at least a 7-7 record over the next 14. Anything better would be a charm.
This is the time when Johnny Cueto needs to make me look like a genius for supporting him. On the surface, it would seem like this match up would be a good one for Cueto since the Phillies have some good hitting lefties in their lineup in Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins. However, Cueto has actually fared better against lefties in his career (.770 OPS vs. .783 against RHB) and has been even better in 2010 (.660 OPS vs. .768 against RHB). Then again, Cueto's worst start in 2009 came at the hands of the Phillies when he gave up 9 runs in 2/3rds of an inning on July 6. As you'll recall, that was the game the Reds lost 22-1. Now I just made myself a little nauseous.
The Reds haven't faced Kendrick since 2008, but he has proven time and again that he is a winner against the Reds. Despite having a 6.61 ERA in 16.1 career innings against the Reds, he's gone 3-0 against the good guys. Maybe we should trade for him. He knows how to win, and that's all that matters.
It's Brandon Phillips' birthday today. Make sure you wish him a happy birthday at his 11pm dinner reservations tonight! Hopefully he won't be late.