(This post was written by occasional contributor Jeremy Powers.)
Flying to Orlando has a lot of different perks. Yes, I will be in the beautiful state of Florida basking in the sun and enjoying what this southern paradise has to offer for seven days. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be moving through numerous turnstiles at DisneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s parks and playing rounds at some of the most luxurious golf courses in the nation. Those are only some of the things to look forward to while in the sunshine state.
But whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going on in the sports world that will makes being in Florida much more special? For starters, how about game six of the NBA Finals. They are back in Miami where the Mavs are looking to wrap up the series and their first NBA title. I guess I will have to keep my Dirk Nowitzki cheers to an almost mute if I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to get forced out of any local bar. But what I am really looking for is the Reds on baseballÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s biggest stage, ESPNÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Sunday Night Baseball. Why would I be looking forward to a Reds game in Florida any more than in Cincinnati?
Well, for the third time this season the Reds will be showcased on ESPN and for the first time this season I will be out-of-the-state to enjoy this. Coming off their NL Central division title last season the Reds have experienced national attention. While I have been able to hear Dan Shulman and company broadcast the games in St. Louis and Atlanta while in Cincinnati, I still havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been able to watch from another zip code. Really, it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make a difference, but being a Reds guy, I think it is a little more gratifying to watch from a different state. I feel as if I am getting the whole experience of national notoriety. I hope the third times the charm for the Redlegs who have lost both previous Sunday Night Baseball tilts. The way theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re swinging the bats makes that wish seem like a pretty good reality.
Dread-less Edinson Volquez will be back on the mound for the second time since returning to the big leagues from his short stint in AAA with Louisville. Jonathan Sanchez will be on the mound for the reigning World Series champions. Sanchez, who has a record of 4-4 with an ERA of 3.51 will need to shut down the Reds hitters in order to give the Giants a chance to put up runs; something the bay area boys have failed to do throughout this series. Losing second baseman Freddy Sanchez to the DL with a dislocated shoulder does not help. Sanchez had been one of San FranciscoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most consistent offense threats for the first part of the 2011 season. He was batting .289 before the injury with 24 RBI (second on the team) and a team-high 15 doubles.
Joey Votto remains hot for the Reds. He had three hits Saturday afternoon and is currently batting .385 during the month of June. Brandon Phillips comes into Sunday nightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game 3 for 8 all-time versus Sanchez. Each of those three hits was a homer.
Dusty hopes to wrap up the series with a victory tonight and hopes Volquez can locate his fastball and not let up any early runs. The Reds will travel south to Los Angeles following tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game in San Francisco. Cincinnati will be in LA for three games before returning home, Thursday for a much needed off day.