What You Need to Know: Phils vs. Reds
Phillies (57-65) vs. Cincinnati Reds (74-49)
In case you hadn't heard, the Reds don't exactly fare well in Citizen's Bank Park.
They didn't last night, losing 12-5 (though they were able to take out frustration on Roy Halladay), their 16th in their last 20. Cincy is 9-21 in their last 30.
The Phils are hoping to further that trend tonight.
Can Cliff Catch A Break?
Cliff Lee (2-7, 3.83 ERA) has been the source of many of his own problems this season. But he's also been shafted more than his fair share in 2012, most recently, August 16.
Lee dealt for 7.2 innings, allowing just three runs (even if they were all on solo shots) with 12 strikeouts, but Josh Lindbolm (who redeemed himself last night with his first save of the season) allowed that walk-off grand slam.
That marked Lee's second no-decision this month (0-1, 4.37 ERA) and fourth in his last six (1-1, 3.63 ERA), the result in more than half of his starts this season (21 starts, 12 no-decisions).
Dude's definitely trying. Lee's gone seven or more innings in each of his last six starts, and in seven of his last eight. Three times he's allowed four or more runs, but didn't hurt his team. (Phillies are 2-1 in such games.)
Historically, Lee hasn't exactly dazzled against Cincy. He's 6-2 in 10 career starts, but with a 4.04 ERA. He's also allowed one home run per start.
Fortunately for him, he's done pretty well against most of the Reds he'll face tonight. The qualifier there being that Joey Votto, who'll miss his 36th straight game (knee), has fared well (.385 average, 1.077 OPS) with limited opportunities (13 at-bats).
Worth noting: After July (career 4.23 ERA), far and away his worst month statistically, Lee tends to get better as the season progresses. And as they say, when you hit rock bottom...
The Other Guy
Opposing Lee tonight will be Homer Bailey (10-8, 4.16 ERA), a six-year pro and lifetime Red who in 2012 posted double-digit wins for the first time in his career. He's never finished a season with a sub-4.00 ERA.
In his last four starts, Bailey's fallen off a bit (1-2, 8.24 ERA).
But the Reds have managed to win (7-2 in his last nine starts), even in spite of him. Over the span, he's gone six innings or longer five times, all Reds wins.
And Bailey's done remarkably well against the Phillies on this roster. For their careers, they've only managed a .164 average and .442 OPS, with but one home run and five RBI.
One of the best parts about last night's win is that it likely shelved some of the Reds best relievers, Jose Orrendono (2.74 ERA in 54 games), Sam LeCure (3.53 ERA in 35 games), and Logan Ondrusek (3.50 ERA in 53 games).
Save for closer Aroldis Chapman, the only other reliever on the Red roster with more than 50 appearances who wasn't used last night is Sean Marshall (2.70 ERA in 54 games.)
Considering Cincy rocks the sport's best relief staff (2.78 ERA in 2012), that's good news.
Three Times Charms The Fourth
Last night's win marked the Phils' third in a row.
On the season, Philly is 4-1 games following a three-game run, with wins against the Cubs (May 16), Cardinals (May 26), Dodgers (July 17), and Brewers (July 25). Fun.