(Credit: Grant Brisbee, for noticing this similarity)
With the first quarter of the season in the books (after game 43), the arrival of the first of six "Ohio Cup" games and the world about to end, it's a fine time for reflection. Six games above .500 is not a bad place to be after 44 games, especially with half of MLB's divisions being held by teams with lesser records. But despite a good May and a sweep of the Cards, the Reds find themselves 0.5 games out in the Central. They'll need a win tonight - and a Cardinal loss - to spend eternity in first place. Although, by my watch, it's already May 21st from Yakutsk to Helsinki. I'm not sure how this thing is supposed to go down exactly, but along with the Cardinals' rebound, there should be no shortage of urgency to win tonight.
The team enters Progressive Field to face the best team in baseball. And Progressive Auto Insurance has NOT bought the naming rights to Fenway Park or Citizen's Bank Park. It's the Cleveland Indians, who also happen to be a tenth of a run behind the Reds and Yankees (5.2) for highest-scoring offense in baseball. Strength of schedule, as always, is a consideration, especially this early in the season. Judged by the Baseball Reference's Strength of Schedule measure, both the Reds and (somehow) the Rays have played the easiest schedules, league-wide, with the Indians a close second. I'm not sure quite what to make of that other than it's early and the Rays have played only four games in total against the Yankees and Sox.
The Reds have flipped the script from last year, performing better against good teams and worse against bad ones. I've seen this tidbit cited by several in the Reds commentariat: the current record is 9-3 against the co-rivals (STL and MIL) and an inverted 3-9 against the Pirates and D-Backs. Not sure why, but while the Reds can't let down their guard against mediocre squads, they certainly can't against the MLB's best team. Travis Wood has a history of Good Team aptitude, having pitched well in his short career against the Cardinals, Phillies, Rockies and Playoff Phillies. Whoever Alex White is, he's only faced 52 batters in his major league career. His splits may be pure noise, otherwise they would lead you to the conclusion that he's a righty who shuts down lefties. Here's hoping last night's Jay Bruce is a weekend warrior and Votto is back to full strength.
Go Reds, but I'm fine with the Indians winning in most any other circumstance.
|2011 - Travis Wood||3-3||12||9||0||0||0||0||50.1||58||28||28||5||15||43||5.01||1.45|
|2011 - Alex White||1-0||2||2||0||0||0||0||12.0||13||5||5||3||6||10||3.75||1.58|