Cliff Lee (2-7, 3.83 ERA)
Cliff Lee’s struggles this year are well documented. The stat that stands out the most is his minuscule win total of 2. If there’s one area Lee is sure to dominate by season’s end its no-decisions. He already has 12 on the year, which surpasses his total (7 ND) of last year by far. It’s not a statistic that bears great recognition, but Lee needs something positive.
He is fresh off another ND against the Brewers in his last start. The bullpen blew yet another lead, and wasted a 12 SO performance by Lee in the process. We don’t get to see what happens behind closed doors, but it’s amazing the restraint Phillies starters have shown not choking out members of the bullpen in the dugout. Lee’s has faced the Reds only a handful of times in his career, but their propensity for the long ball could give Lee fits.
Homer Bailey (10-8, 4.16 ERA)
Bailey, the Reds 1st-round pick in 2004, has never been able to reach his full potential. That said, Homer is enjoying his most productive season in a Reds uniform. He has eclipsed double digit wins for the first time in his career, and is sporting a career-low 4.16 ERA. These numbers may not seem flashy, but he has helped stabilize a rotation that has helped the Reds to 1st-place in the NL Central.
With a name like Homer he may have been better suited to play the field. Bailey has been true to his namesake giving up 21 home runs so far this season. This game matchup should provide plenty of souvenirs.
Despite Bailey’s generous nature of serving up fat pitches the Phillies numbers against the Right hander are pretty mediocre. Jimmy Rollins has the highest average hitting .375 (3-8), but only Ryan Howard has taken him deep. The Phils should fair better than their .164 team average against Bailey after a hot night at the plate in the opener.
The Reds sport a surprising number of high batting averages against Lee. Miguel Cairo and Scott Rolen have faired the best, both hitting well over .400. Expect the Reds to flood the lineup with right-handed hitters who will be swinging for the fences.
Three things are guaranteed in tonight’s game.
1) There will be plenty of long balls from both teams, so expect an high scoring affair.
2) Despite the power potential both teams whiff at a high rate, providing Lee another high strike out performance.
3) Lee wins his 3rd game! Ok, this one is wishful thinking. Lee will continue his string of solid outings, but will come away with yet another no decision.