The Reds climbed back onto the wagon on Saturday with a rare and once expected display of power hitting. Today's series finale against the Phillies will feature Homer Bailey take the mound against Philadelphia rookie David Buchanan. Meanwhile, Joey Votto will begin his rehabilitation stint today for the Louisville Bats in the scenic and mildly-infested with organized crime city of Pawtucket. All around, there is plenty of somewhat-unjustified hope in the air.
Bailey has steadily improved over the course of this season, with his most recent outings most closely resembling those from his dominant 2013 campaign. His only start against Philadelphia this year resulted in six earned runs in only 3.2 innings. However, he has experienced some success against the current Phillies lineup over the course of his career. In twenty-six plate appearances, Chase Utley has been held to a .588 OPS with only six hits in twenty-four at bats. Meanwhile, Ryan Howard has fared slightly better with a .744 OPS, but with a .222 batting average. One player that has performed well against Bailey is the current bugaboo for the Reds, Marlon Byrd. Byrd has seven hits in eighteen at-bats with an OPS of 1.202. Oh, and he's also smacked two home runs.
The Reds may again have to rely on the hot hitting bat of Todd Fraizer. Over the past two weeks, Frazier is 15 for 49 with 4 home runs and 7 extra base hits. After last night's performance, there is some evidence to also suggest that Jay Bruce may begin to join the hit parade after an injury delayed this year's opening of "May Bruce." In the meantime, Brandon Phillips will hopefully see his continue on-base percentage to rise after finally cracking the .300 mark last night.
David Buchanan will be making his fourth major league start in his young career for Philadelphia. Buchanan was a seventh round draft pick for the Phillies in 2010. The twenty-five year old right hander has struggled thus far at the major league level, sporting a 1-2 record with a WHIP of 1.472. He is also striking out only 5.1 players every nine innings. Prior to being called up, he held a 5-1 record with an ERA of 3.98 in AAA Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies wouldn't qualify as a "good team" this season, with their 25-35 record being even worse that the Reds. However, that does not mean this is not a team full of veteran presents (SIC) that have given the Reds some fits over the past few years. The 8-0 drubbing they received on Friday is indicative enough of the troubles this team has given the Reds. That being said, if the Reds can steal two of three games against them, it will go a way towards hopefully righting the ship before the return of Joey Votto.
So, yeah, go Reds. You're my favorite team.