Houston, again? The Reds have played the Astros 6 times already in this young season - a full 18% of the schedule so far - and can claim a 4-2 record, with a 14 run advantage in the aggregate. The 'stros have some catching up to do if they hope to advance to the next round of Champion's League play. The Texans on the team may be happy to be back in the Lone Star State, though Houston-native Paul "Soft J" Janish is still healing and questionable, at minimum, for the opener.
Last time the team faced tonight's Astros' starter - which happened to be his most recent turn in the rotation - it was not a pleasant introduction. The rookie gave Reds' hitters Aneurysms, yielding only one hit (a Valaika triple) in 5 innings. Rodriguez is significantly better than his stat-line indicated coming into his previous start, though his minor league numbers are fairly pedestrian. Having seen his stuff already, there should be little doubt that multiple hits are within reach for Valaika & Co.
Travis Wood re-matches with Rodriguez tonight. While he didn't keep pace with his counterpart last time, he still made his second-or-third-best start of seven on the season and showed some signs of positive regression. Ken gave us a pretty good diagnosis of Wood's struggles in the Reposter. Aside from being unlucky, Wood might also be missing some movement and/or deception on his off-speed stuff, causing hitters to be fooled less often by stuff that tails out of the zone (most notably the cutter) and to jump on stuff that doesn't. Wood's fastball can look pretty appealing when hitters' aren't chasing his other offerings, though it's clustering much tighter around an average velocity of 90-91 this season. Last season, Wood had several starts where that seemed like his ceiling. I'm pretty confident Wood's luck is turning and we may have seen the beginnings of it during his last start.
If the offense - especially 2-6 bats that were largely silent in Chicago - can ignite at the same time the rotation is auto-correcting, this could be the beginning of a tear.
|2011 - Travis Wood||1-3||8||7||0||0||0||0||37.2||45||26||26||3||13||34||6.21||1.54|
|2011 - Aneury Rodriguez||0-0||10||1||0||0||0||0||13.0||10||9||6||2||5||10||4.15||1.15|
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