The Phillies head to Cincinnati in search of their fifth win in six games. The Reds have lost five in a row but remain one of the most talented teams in the National League and the favorite to win the NL Central.
This will be a much more difficult series than the two the Phillies won last week. Cincinnati has a dynamic lineup that makes pitchers work and has power all over the place.
Shin-Soo Choo was one of the best additions made by a contender this offseason. By trading Drew Stubbs to Cleveland for Choo, the Reds essentially subbed out a .312 OBP for a .380 OBP. Choo also has more power than Stubbs and hits for a higher average. Choo's problem has been that he's not a centerfielder by trade, and he's struggled to play the position so far.
With Choo, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier, the Reds have a formidable 1-6. A key in the series will be keeping the two-hole hitter -- Chris Heisey -- off base. Heisey has power but is really struggling this season, as has anyone else who has batted second for the Reds. Their two-hole hitters have batted .236 with a .276 OBP through 12 games.
Votto is off to a remarkable start. He has only three extra-base hits and three RBIs, but he's walked 20 times already. That's more than the Chicago White Sox. That's as many walks as Ben Revere, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Domonic Brown and Laynce Nix combined.
Excluding Albert Pujols, no two players in all of baseball have combined for 20 walks. And it's not as if Votto is being pitched around because he has no protection. Phillips, Bruce and Frazier bat right behind him.
Cincy's pitching hasn't met expectations so far. Aroldis Chapman hasn't had a save opportunity since April 7, Sean Marshall is on the DL and Jonathan Broxton was roughed up his last time out.
Tonight's pitching matchup pits Cliff Lee against Bronson Arroyo. Lee has the lowest walk rate in baseball since the start of 2012 and Arroyo is third, behind Kyle Lohse. Arroyo has terrible career numbers against the Phillies (2-7, 6.55 ERA) and his opponents' batting average vs. Rollins, Utley, Howard, Young and Brown is .333.
Galvis starts again
Make it three starts in three days at three different positions for Freddy Galvis. He'll play second base for a resting Chase Utley.
Galvis is 3-for-6 with two walks the last two days, and he avoided a scary hand injury when Jon Rauch hit him there with a fastball Sunday in Miami.
1) Ben Revere, CF
2) Freddy Galvis, 2B
3) Jimmy Rollins, SS
4) Ryan Howard, 1B
5) Michael Young, 3B
6) Domonic Brown, LF
7) Laynce Nix, RF
8) Erik Kratz, C
9) Cliff Lee, P
1) Shin-Soo Choo, CF (.354/.483/.604)
2) Zack Cozart, SS (.159/.174/.386)
3) Joey Votto, 1B (.289/.542/.447)
4) Brandon Phillips, 2B (.327/.346/.653)
5) Jay Bruce, RF (.255/.281/.345)
6) Todd Frazier, 3B (.318/.400/.591)
7) Chris Heisey, LF (.167/.205/.286)
8) Ryan Hanigan, C (.069/.200/.069)
9) Bronson Arroyo, P