An important three-game sweep of a divisional foe is within the Cincinnati Reds grasp today.
Having taken the first two games of the weekend series at Milwaukee, the Reds can get back to the .500 mark with a win today over the Brewers.
Every game is important in the 60-game season, but games against divisional opponents are more important than ever before because each game represents a two-game swing in the margin in the standings between the two teams.
And speaking of important games in a shortened season: After today’s game and a Monday off-day, Cincinnati faces eight straight games against the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates. Their combined record before today’s action is 9-22. The Chicago Cubs just completed a seven-game stretch against the same two teams and finished 6-1 – certainly a key component of their division-leading 10-3 record.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Cubs will face the Indians’ pitching staff. The Redlegs will have the opportunity in the coming days to make up some of the four-game difference between first and second in the NL Central.
All of that being said, today’s match up has all of the makings of a “good old good one.”
Between them, Gray and Woodruff are striking out about 35 percent of the batters they face, and walking only about six percent. It figures to be a low-scoring pitchers’ duel, and the Reds will have to take advantage of what will probably be limited scoring opportunities.
Joel Kuhnel is back with the team after being recalled from Prasco Park late Saturday, with Jose De Leon being optioned. Kuhnel will at some point be given the opportunity to join the list of relievers that David Bell can trust in the late innings of close games. To date, Raisel Iglesias, Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims are the only pitchers who have done so.
With the starting pitching this team has, a dependable end-of-game lockdown bullpen corps would make this team a true threat to win it all. Time is running short for two or three others to join the end-of-game group that Bell will rely upon.
Sims pitched the final two innings in Friday’s win and may not be available today, but everyone else in the bullpen should be ready if needed today.
|LF Shogo Akiyama||SS Eric Sogard|
|RF Nick Castellanos||2B Keston Hiura|
|1B Joey Votto||LF Christian Yelich|
|3B Eugenio Suarez||DH Logan Morrison|
|DH Jesse Winker||CF Avisail Garcia|
|2B Christian Colon||1B Justin Smoak|
|C Tucker Barnhart||3B Brock Holt|
|SS Freddy Galvis||RF Mark Mathias|
|CF Travis Jankowski||C Manny Pina|
Colon gets another start and bats sixth in the order, much to the chagrin of at least a faction of Redleg Nation. Bell seems to be hoping that either Colon or Kyle Farmer will assert himself offensively in the continued absence of Mike Moustakas, which neither has yet done.
Career-wise vs. Woodruff, Votto is 6-for-9 with two homers and five RBI. Winker is 4-for-7 with a double. On the other hand, members of the current Brewers roster have a lifetime combined batting average of .210 vs. Gray. Both Morrison and Smoak have identical 7-for-33 career batting against Gray. The next highest number of at-bats vs. Gray among current Brewers are Holt and Garcia, both 1-for-12.
Additional insights into the statistical history of the players in today’s game is available all season long at BaseballSavant.com.
News and Notes
When will the St. Louis Cardinals play again?
#STLCards players are being informed today that the team will not be assembling for at least 3-5 days and to get in workouts on their own, per source. Pittsburgh series likely will be canceled.
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) August 8, 2020
Presuming the upcoming Monday through Wednesday series against Pittsburgh is indeed cancelled, the Cardinals will have had 13 consecutive games postponed. It also means that St. Louis must play 55 games over the next 50 days, with a very real likelihood of no days off until the end of the season. That doesn’t even include any potential rainouts or further COVID-related postponements.
There is still mutual admiration between Deion Sanders and the Reds, who the Pro Football Hall of Famer at one time said he truly enjoyed playing for …
Happy birthday, @DeionSanders! ? pic.twitter.com/rs1BTVAm7m
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) August 9, 2020