Cincinnati enters with the worst record in baseball (29-47) and are losers of eight of their last 11. The Phils are hanging in with the best record in the NL East this month (13-9). They trail the looming Mets by 3 ½.
Preview: Admit it. You're looking ahead to the Mets series. Don't. The Reds are poor enough to be swept, however, the pitching matchups even out this series and may actually favor Cincinnati. Tonight they draw elite rookie Homer Bailey (2-0, 4.00 ERA), fresh off a seven-inning, one-run win on the road in Oakland in which he didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning. In three starts, the 21-year-old right-hander has walked a ton (11), but has a reputation for overpowering stuff. Before Oakland, he faced the Angels and Indians, two of the top teams in baseball. Before that he was 6-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 10 starts with Triple-A Louisville. He's on a roll folks. Here’s what one scout said before the season to Baseball America:
"Bailey is interesting, but he's a different guy for me. His raw stuff is better than any other of the elite pitching prospects I've seen. I've seen (Yankees righthander Philip) Hughes a bunch of times, I've seen (Phillies lefthander Cole) Hamels, I’ve seen (Mets righthanders Mike) Pelfrey and (Philip) Humber, and Bailey’s stuff—as far as fastball/curveball combination—is the best."
The Phillies counter with their own rookie right-hander, Kyle Kendrick (1-0, 4.50 ERA), making his third start of the season. Kendrick earned his first major league win with a six-inning, three-run performance against the Indians.
This series could sneak up on the Phils and I'm worried about it. They went 3-3 on their latest road trip, but didn't look especially crisp doing it. This could be the swing game. The Phils’ offense needs a patient approach against Bailey and keep attacking a team in the midst of a long roadtrip. Bailey is said to lack a third pitch, and the Phillies can mash a fastball with the best of them. Time to give this kid a South Philadelphia-style welcome to the majors. Whatever that means.
Game time is 7:05 p.m. ET. Temperatures will be in the high 80s with little wind. Expect big offense. Chat about it here.
Lineups are posted: Michael Bourn hopes to build on Sunday's performance and will start in left field and hit second. Shane Victorino starts in right and slides down to sixth. Greg Dobbs at third, and Carlos Ruiz will receive. New-look lineup for the first of three with the Redlegs. [Live Boxscore]