The National League Central Division leading Reds (49-37) visit Philadelphia to start a 4-game series against the NL East's third place Phillies (43-40). The Reds have won 7 of their last 10 games, while the Phillies have dropped 7 of their last 10 games.
Philadelphia has struggled with injuries all season long. The expected potent offense, that experts were convinced would return them to a third straight World Series, has only taken the field together 5 times in 83 chances. Currently, 3 of the Phillies' 8 projected everyday offensive stars are on the disabled list. The Reds, on the other hand, have suffered injuries to their pitching staff, seeing 3 of their 5 starters miss time. Homer Bailey and Aaron Harang have been sidelined recently, while another starter Edinson Volquez, who won 17 games for the Reds last year, is to miss the entire season following elbow surgery. Somehow, Cincinnati has stayed afloat, while the Phillies have sunk in the standings.
Kyle Kendrick, fresh off his first career complete game, will get the start in game one for the Phillies. The Reds will counter with Johnny Cueto, who came out on top with a win, when these two pitchers met in Cincinnati last month.
Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and plenty more information on this series.
Thursday, 7:05pm. Johnny Cueto (8-2, 3.56 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (5-3, 4.70 ERA). Cueto earned a win against the Phils on June 28th when he allowed just 1 earned run over 8 innings. In 9 road starts this season, Cueto is 4-1 with a 3.42 ERA. Cueto has posted a 2-1 record and a 0.70 ERA over his last 4 starts. Cueto has a 7-1 record in 13 night starts this season. Ryan Howard is 3-for-7 (.429 avg) against Cueto with a double, a triple and a homerun. Kendrick has posted a 4.13 ERA over his last 5 outings. In 4 career starts against the Reds, Kendrick is 3-1 with a 6.75 ERA. Kendrick has a 3.75 ERA since the start of May. Brandon Phillips is 5-for-11 (.455 avg) against Kendrick.
Friday, 7:05. Mike Leake (6-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (3-5, 6.27 ERA). Leake is 1-1 with a 6.35 ERA over his last 5 starts. In 6 road starts this season, Leake is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA. Blanton is 2-0 with a 4.55 ERA over his last 4 starts. In 3 career starts against Cincinnati, Blanton has a 2-0 record and a 3.92 ERA. In 6 home starts this year, Blanton is 2-2 with a 4.93 ERA.
Saturday, 7:05pm. Travis Wood (0-0, 3.86 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (10-7, 2.33 ERA). Wood, a lefty-handed rookie, will be making just his third Major League start. Wood has not had a decision yet, in 2 road starts against the Cubs and Metropolitans. The 23-year-old posted a 5-6 record, a 3.12 ERA and struck out 97 batters in 98 innings in 15 starts at Triple-A Louisville, prior to his promotion to the Majors this season. In 10 home starts this year, Halladay is 6-4 with a 2.09 ERA. In Halladay's 4 home losses, the Phillies have scored a total of 5 runs. Brandon Phillips is 4-for-10 (.400 avg) with 2 doubles against Halladay in his career.
Sunday, 1:35pm. Matt Maloney (0-1, 4.76 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (6-7, 4.05 ERA). Maloney, the former Phils prospect who was traded for Kyle Lohse in 2007, has a 2-5 record with a 4.86 ERA in 8 career Major League starts. Maloney served up Johan Santana's first Major League homer in a loss to the Metropolitans this week. In 6 career starts against Cincinnati, Hamels is 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA and a .150 batting average against. Hamels has posted a 1-2 record with a 4.22 ERA over his last 5 starts. Lefty batters are hitting .170 against Hamels this year, while righties are hitting .282 against him. Brandon Phillips is 2-for-18 (.111 avg) against Cole Hamels in his career.
In 15 career games at Citizens Bank Park, Scott Rolen is 22-for-63 (.349 avg). In his career, Rolen is a combined 4-for-37 (.108 avg) against Jose Contreras, Brad Lidge, Joe Blanton, Roy Halladay, Danys Baez and Kyle Kendrick.
When the Phillies visited the Reds last month, Joey Votto went 6-for-13 (.461 avg) in 3 games with a double, 2 homers and 3 runs scored. The lefty batting Votto is hitting .347 against right-handed pitchers this year, while his average against left-handers is .248.
Phillies reliever Ryan Madson has been activated from the disabled list for this series. Madson has a 7.36 ERA in 17 career games against the Reds.
Mike Zagurski was optioned to Lehigh Valley to make room on the roster for the Madson move.
Since the start of June, Ryan Howard has gone hitless in just 3 of his 33 games played. During that stretch, he is batting .322. In 41 games at Citizens Bank Park this season, Howard is batting .329 with a .947 OPS, compared to his .268 avg. and .786 OPS away from Citizens Bank Park.
Raul Ibanez is batting .246 in 41 home games this season. Ibanez has 7 homeruns in 81 games this season. He hit 7 homeruns in April last season.
Reds team batting avg.- .274
Phillies team batting avg.- .257
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