The St. Louis Cardinals roll into Great American Ball Park for a 3 game series against the Cincinnati Reds, and when I say roll, I mean roll. The filthy Cards are fresh off a 3 game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and they've won 7 of their last 8 games overall to move to 26-21 on the season, just a game and a half back of the Milwaukee Brewers for 1st place in the NL Central.
The Reds, of course, just wrapped up the most unenthusiastic .500 road trip in recent memory, scraping out 3 wins in 6 games despite being outscored 32-14 in the process. But hey, wins are wins, and the beat up Reds will take them any way they can get them these days.
The good news is that Jay Bruce is back, and he's set to start in RF and hit cleanup tonight after having been activated on Wednesday. While his return meant Joey Votto hit the DL, Votto hadn't been playing, anyway, so it's kind of a net upgrade. Kind of. Sort of. Silver linings, folks.
Joining Bruce in the dugout tonight will be Donald Lutz, since the 1B/OF was called up today following a short stint in Louisville after bashing his way through Double A pitching with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos for most of 2014. Lutz hit .360/.412/.685 with 6 dingers in 97 AA plate appearances, and he honked one donker as part of his .800 OPS in just 5 games in AAA before being brought back to the big leagues this afternoon. Neftali Soto was optioned to AAA Louisville to make way for Lutz, and while Brayan Pena is getting the start at 1B tonight, I'd expect Lutz to see the bulk of the 1B duties between now and when Votto is eligible to come off the DL on May 31st.
Homer Bailey will pitch tonight, and we'll all hope it's an improvement on his previous effort. Bailey was lit up for 6 ER in just 3.2 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies last week. Guh. He'll toe the rubber opposite Shelby Miller, who has a smokin' hot 1.79 ERA over his last 7 starts.
Go Reds! They're my favorite filthy-Card-crushing team!