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Milwaukee Brewers (62-50) @ Cincinnati Reds (51-61)
Who's on Tap?:
August 4th: Manny Parra (9-4, 3.93 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (9-8, 5.74 ERA)
August 5th: Dave Bush (5-9, 4.69 ERA) vs. Edinson Volquez (13-4, 2.71 ERA)
August 6th: Jeff Suppan (6-7, 4.75 ERA) vs. Homer Bailey (0-5, 7.55 ERA)
Who Should You Watch?:
The Brewers come off a relatively successful series against the Braves and head to Great American Ballpark, where they are 2-1 this season. They make their last trip there in September. One Brewer that will enjoy his time there is Prince Fielder. At GAB, Prince is hitting a stellar .329/.398/.570. Considering his current hot streak, Prince should enjoy his time in the spacious gaps. JJ Hardy has also had some success again the Reds with 10 HRs in 34 starts. Unfortunately for the Brewers, Corey Hart and Ryan Braun have struggled mightily against Reds hurlers, so these Prince and JJ may have to really overachieve to get some runs. On the mound, keep your on Dave Bush, who has been back to his old tricks since the break, that is walking batters and giving up bombs. Bush is making his first 'non-platoon' start after giving up 10 earnies in his last 12.1 innings.
In the home dugout, the Reds roll out a Griffeyless lineup, which may actually be better for them in the long run, though they have to send out Corey Patterson more often than usual. On the plus side of things, Jerry Hairston Jr. is back off the DL and can spare Reds' fans of Dusty Baker's favorite player. As far as people you should keep an eye on, the obvious one is Adam Dunn, who has been a Brewer killer since he entered the league. Dunn is a .276/.425/.583 hitter when he gets in the box against Milwaukee and absolutely destroys Jeff Suppan (.500/.657/.875). On the mound, the Brewers dodge Aaron Harang again, since he's still on the DL, but are forced to take on the only player who is challenging Geovany Soto for ROY, Edinson Volquez. In his only start against Milwaukee, Volquez went seven strong, giving up only one earned run while striking out ten. That will probably play out in a similar fashion on Tuesday.
Keys to Victory:
The Brewers should have little trouble taking two games from the Reds with Arroyo and Bailey on the mound, but they can't just expect the wins to come. They'll have to do exactly what they did on Friday to Chuck James. In just 2.2 innings of work, James gave up four walks. That's usually not the Brewers game, I know, but Reds pitchers walk A LOT of batters. Arroyo's propensity to give up the long ball is his problem, but Volquez has walked 62 batters in 133 innings and Bailey 14 in 31 IP. The Brewers failed to do this in the last series, losing two of three at Miller Park. They did walk three times each game, but it was always secluded to one specific player. Come on guys, learn something from that Cubs series.
The Reds, need to rare back and hit the ball out of the park. Other than Manny Parra, the Brewers pitching staff gives up the long ball all too often. The biggest culprit is Dave Bush, who has given up 20 long shots in his 119 innings of work. Patience will help in this endeavor, but the Reds have big time power and will have to use it to their advantage when given the opportunity. Short porches in left and right won't hurt that one bit (325 ft in right and 328 in left).
Predictions and Notes:
- It's hard to imagine the Brewers losing on Monday or Wednesday considering the success the Brewers have had against Arroyo and the flat out disappointment of Homer Bailey. Tuesday will be a tough one though. Volquez has only had two rough starts all season (after looking at his numbers, I'm not sure if his ROY eligible), and I don't expect the third to show up in this series, though a full season of pitching may be finally getting to him. I think the Brewers' offense shows up big time tomorrow, despite Arroyo's recent success. Tuesday will be that game where every one on the offensive end struggles and every one on their team catches the breaks. Bush will probably pitch pretty reasonable, but he'll get the Ben Sheets treatment. And Wednesday is that good ole toss up game. I can't imagine Homer Bailey succeeding yet again against the Brewers, so I'll say a 6-4 win on the shoulders of a couple of homeruns.
- Look for Adam Dunn to not play against Parra as Baker has been going out of his way to pull him against lefties. Though that may change as they try to move him in a waiver trade. Dunn is soaking up some serious cash for a team that's in last place in the Central.
- Another guy to look out for this week is Joey Votto. Votto has finally gotten the playing time he's deserved and has often gone overlooked with guys like Dunn, Phillips and Jay Bruce on the team. Votto has stuck around the .275ish mark all season and is a picture of consistency, though his power is down somewhat.
- With all of the up roar about Rickie Weeks in the last two weeks, mostly because of Tom Haudricourt and the riotous uninformed fans, who don't know about Rickie's recent success, it should be noted he will get two starts this week with Arroyo and Home Bailey. If this doesn't happen, there's going to be some chemistry problems brewing the club house. Rickie is Prince's right hand man and if Rickie has problems, they really could be cancerous.