After sweeping the NL East leaders in Cincinnati, the Reds (22-27) travel to Philadelphia to play the last place Phillies (19-33) for a three game series. The Phillies are in the midst of a seven game losing streak, their longest since July 2013. They’ve scored one run or less a major league leading 14 times already this year, and find themselves dead last in most offensive statistical categories.
The Phillies have only averaged 3.02 runs per game and have the league’s fewest homers with 27. Ryan Howard is the only everyday regular with an OPS+ in excess of 100, which is the MLB average. Howard and Freddy Galvis are the only everyday players with an OPS+ in excess of 80.
STRIKEOUTS AREN’T THE PROBLEM
While the Phillies offense is 15th in the National League, the Reds only rank slightly better at 11th with 3.9 runs per game. Most folks attribute these teams (and poor scoring teams in general) as high strikeout teams. However, the Reds and the Phillies have the 3rd and 4th fewest strikeouts per plate appearance in the National League.
The Atlanta Braves have struck out the least this season (18.1%), while the Reds are third at 19.1%, the Phillies 4th at 19.5%, and the Cubs have the worst K% at 25.5%.
The Phillies boast Cole Hamels and Aaron Harang atop their rotation, and the Reds are scheduled to face each of them the next two nights. Tonight, Johnny Cueto is scheduled to return to the rotation against Phils #5 starter
2015 stats for tonight’s probable starters:
Johnny Cueto is pitching for the first time since May 19th due to elbow stiffness. Cueto is typically hurt by low run production, as the Reds have scored two or fewer runs in five of his nine starts.
Twenty-seven year old righty Sean O’Sullivan is already with his 5th MLB organization. He’s only lasted 5-6 innings in each of his six starts this season with the Phillies. In 33.2 innings, he’s walked eight but also only struck out 18. In his last outing, he was roughed up by the Mets, allowing seven runs on 11 hits and four homeruns in 5.2 innings.
Today’s Reds lineup features the regular starting eight:
- Brandon PhillipsÃ‚Â (R) 2B
- Joey VottoÃ‚Â (L) 1B
- Todd FrazierÃ‚Â (R) 3B
- Jay BruceÃ‚Â (L) RF
- Brayan PenaÃ‚Â (S) C
- Marlon ByrdÃ‚Â (R) LF
- Zack CozartÃ‚Â (R) SS
- Johnny CuetoÃ‚Â (R) P
- Billy HamiltonÃ‚Â (S) CF
The lineup for the Phillies features rookies at third base and left field. Grady Sizemore started the year in left field but was released two weeks ago. Jeff Francouer had been getting starts in right field but has now been delegated to the bench.
- Ben RevereÃ‚Â (L) RF
- Freddy GalvisÃ‚Â (S) SS
- Chase UtleyÃ‚Â (L) 2B
- Ryan HowardÃ‚Â (L) 1B
- Maikel FrancoÃ‚Â (R) 3B
- Cody AscheÃ‚Â (L) LF
- Odubel HerreraÃ‚Â (L) CF
- Carlos RuizÃ‚Â (R) C
- Sean O’SullivanÃ‚Â (R) P
TODDFATHER NL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Todd Frazier was named last week’s NL Player of the Week. Frazier led the majors with a .500 batting average including four homeruns. His week-long slash line was .500/.560/1.227 (AVG/OBP/SLG.)
Going back past last week, Todd Frazier has been on base in 12 straight games. During that stretch, Frazier has six multi-hit games including the past four consecutive games and is hitting .413/.460/.783.
Joey Votto has been on-base in ten straight games. He has three doubles, two homeruns, and is hitting .278/.381/.528, which is a nice rebound from his slumping May numbers.
Jay Bruce has pushed his on-base streak to 14 games. He’s hitting .354/.456/.563 to bring his overall OPS up to .735 from .605.
After two off days over the past five days, the Reds will play 20 in a row without a scheduled day off. The first nine games will come against sub-.500 teams (six against Philly and three against the Padres.) Things feel a little more upbeat after sweeping the Nationals this past weekend.