Cincinnati (25-16) began the season 3-10 away from Great American Ballpark but has swept back-to-back road series in Chicago and Miami.
Tonight's matchup is Cliff Lee (4-2, 2.86) against rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani (2-0, 2.89). The Phillies don't hit pitchers they've never seen and they are one of the worst teams in baseball against lefties, making this the rare double whammy. Maybe those two facts will cancel each other out and they'll put up a four-spot in the first inning.
Cingrani uses his 92-95 mph fastball 84% of the time, and also mixes in sliders and changeups. He'll be attacking the Phillies with heaters all night. In his last start against the Brewers, I watched Cingrani allow back-to-back homers to Jean Segura and Ryan Braun, who each went the opposite way with elevated fastballs. He isn't wild (37 strikeouts, 7 walks in 28 innings), but Cingrani struggled to locate on that day.
Lee has held most of the Reds at bay, but Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips have hit a combined .356 with seven extra-base hits in 45 at-bats.
Fun Reds stat: Shin-Soo Choo and Votto have reached base 177 times, equaling Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Dom Brown and Ben Revere combined.
Weird Dusty Baker decision: His continuous use of Zack Cozart in between Choo and Votto is baffling. He has a .236 OBP. Put a league-average hitter in between those two OBP mavens and they'd have scored at least a half-dozen more runs. Baker likes Phillips in the cleanup spot, but why not bat him second? Choo gets on base enough that Phillips would still have plenty of RBI opportunities, and it would put guys on for Votto, as opposed to having him lead off 40 separate innings, as he's done this year.
1) Jimmy Rollins, SS
2) Chase Utley, 2B (.300 OBP in two-hole)
3) Michael Young, 3B
4) Ryan Howard, 1B
5) Delmon Young, RF (7-18 last five games)
6) Domonic Brown, LF (.314 BA, 3 HR vs. LHP)
7) Carlos Ruiz, C
8) John Mayberry, CF (3rd straight start in CF)
9) Cliff Lee, P
And for the Reds:
1) Shin-Soo Choo, CF (5 HR, 8 RBI, 12 BB last 12 games)
2) Zack Cozart, SS
3) Joey Votto, 1B (.392 BA in May)
4) Brandon Phillips, 2B
5) Jay Bruce, RF (.379 BA, 7 XBH during 7-game hit streak)
6) Todd Frazier, 3B
7) Devin Mesoraco, C
8) Derrick Robinson, LF
9) Tony Cingrani, P