Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.94 ERA)
This daytime matinee has all the makings of a pitching classic. Despite not being able to extend his streak to three straight shut outs, Hamels was very good on the mound against the Brew Crew in his last start. He tossed 7 plus innings with 10 strikeouts, winning his third straight start in the process. All those dollar signs he just inked has put a target on his back, but you wouldn’t know it watching him pitch this month. Reds be warned, Cole aint taking his foot off the gas just because he got paid.
Johnny Cueto (16-6, 2.44 ERA)
Despite Hamel’s recent hot streak this is the man he has to catch in the Cy Young race. He leads the league in two categories that favor cy young canidates, wins and ERA. If those traditional stats aren’t enough to sway you, Cueto also leads the league in adjusted ERA or ERA + (174). For reference an average ERA + is 100. If the flame throwing righty from the Dominican Republic can keep mowing hitters down at the rate he’s been going, he’ll blow past this meager Phillies lineup on his way to some serious hardware.
Ryan Howard is one Phillie who will be looking forward to today’s afternoon matchup. Not only does the big kid have Cueto in his book, but he is hitting .400 against him. Charlie would be wise to keep Utley in the lineup as well, as he’s hitting over .300 with a big fly against the right hander.
The Reds on the other hand just don’t seem to have any luck against Hamels. His first career victory came at the hand of the Reds, and they haven’t had much more success against him since. None of Cincinnati’s regulars are hitting over .300 against Cole, with star second baseman Brandon Phillips hitting a paltry .156 (5-32).
Dusty Baker would be wise to shake up his lineup. Youngsters Zach Cozart and Todd Frazier have never faced Hamels before, so maybe they’ll finally break the teams cold streak against the cool southpaw. More Likely, Hamels continues his dominance of the Reds edging Johnny Cueto in a stellar pitching dual.