After tonight, it's half a season in the books. Time to reflect: Remember back about 24 hours a go when we were all scared of Jeremy Hellickson and fearing the worst from this series with the Rays? That feeling has been mostly extinguished, though I am still afraid of the Law of Averages which says the Reds can't possibly go 9-0 against the Rays. (But that's been a lifelong fear that I'm working through). It's really not time to reflect yet. At least not until the All Star Break, when the Reds will luxuriate for a bonus off day ransomed for that brutal slog earlier in the season that almost ruined the Season.
We've got two more games to play in Tampa and tonight we're treated to an excellent pitching match-up. Two 25 year old rising stars who made their major league debuts in 2008 and took big steps forward last season. Price was the more highly-touted prospect, putting up a Cy Young caliber performance in '10, while Cueto set his floor as a solid #2-3. And while Price has carved out the more distinguished major league career so far, Cueto has more professional experience, both in the minors and majors, having charted steady, dogged improvement since '08, including 60 innings of Cy-style starting pitching so far this season. Price will be a challenge, but the Reds have been slicing up left-handed pitching this season, to the tune of .299/.369/.480. Votto and Gomes are both OPS-ing north of 1.000, with Gomes reaching base 50% of the time against lefties. Drew Stubbs, despite recent struggles, is doing a .327/.386/.538 job on them.
Checking in with the Slump Tracker, the thing that concerns me is not that these June swoons are taking place (they're a pretty common occurrence), but that, over the last month, they seem to be targeting the youthful core: Votto, Bruce and Stubbs.
How they've fared in their last 20 PAs:
- Stubbs has hits in his last three games, including a HR on Saturday. He has 4 hits in his last 20 PAs, with 1 BB and 7 Ks. Seein' the light, by and by
- Bruce also has 4 hits his last 20 PAs with 2 2Bs and 7 Ks and a HR drought dating back to June 1. Slouchin' along
- Votto has 5 hits in his last 20 PAs with 2 HRs, 4 BBs and 2 Ks. Joey Votto
The real difference between Bruce and Stubbs is one of expectation. And the fact that Bruce hasn't hit a home run in a long time and has been looking purposeless at the plate.
|2011 - Johnny Cueto||5-2||8||9||1||0||0||0||60.2||41||15||11||4||18||42||1.63||.97|
|2011 - David Price||8-6||16||16||0||0||0||0||110.1||96||44||43||9||21||104||3.51||1.06|