Who's on Tap?
April 18th: Ben Sheets (2-0, 1.17 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (0-1, 5.17 ERA)
April 19th: Jeff Suppan (1-0, 4.67 ERA) vs. Johnny Cueto (1-1, 3.72 ERA)
April 20th: Yovani Gallardo (Season Debut) vs. Aaron Harang (1-2, 3.33 ERA)
Who should you watch?
I'm not going to screw this up this time. You have to watch Johnny Cueto this series. Afer getting roughed up by the Pittsburgh Pirates last Thursday where he went 6 innings and gave up 5 runs on 5 hits (2 HRs), Cueto needs to show the fans he has some poise in him at the ripe age of 22. And as always, keep your eyes on Adam Dunn and Aaron Harang. My Cubs fan friend and I had a nice discussion about Harang and how every time he pitches against our respective home teams, he kills us, to the point where we just have to admit: He's an ace, and one of the better ones if you really cared to know.
Of course when it comes to the Brewers, you have to watch Yovani Gallardo on Sunday. He's the biggest question mark right now and a move is definitely on the horizon, probably Parra for some more seasoning before a trade before the deadline. If all else fails, watch Prince and see if he starts to press even harder now that he's got his first. Nobody seems to realize that when you get a taste, you want more and if Prince starts swinging for homeruns, he might struggle some until he figures out what he's doing.
Keys to Victory:
What did the Brewers do against the Reds that cost them the series? They didn't take pitches and they didn't work the count. They've been rolled and smoked twice in the last three series by two high on-base teams. The Brewers haven't been too successful turning this around, but maybe an emotional victory yesterday could knock some sense into them. With Rickie Weeks out, only Prince Fielder, Craig Counsell, and Gabe Gross ring a bell with good eyes for the K-zone. If they get on base, and work the count, there will be a lot of runs and at least a couple of wins for the Crew.
The Reds just need to do exactly what they did last game. Get on the Brewers early, take their walks and pray their starting pitching makes it through at least six. Everything beyond Coffey is a bit of a question mark, especially Kent Mercker. I know it seems like the obvious answer to choose 50% of the game, but the Reds really need all three of these things to continue their success. If any one of them falters, they will fall quickly.
I hate this damn part. As a Brewers' fan the Crew sweeps. As a baseball fan and an honest writer, the Brewers probably only win one game, but have the opportunity to take two. There is no doubt that the Brewers take game one in this series. Though Arroyo once owned the Brewers, those days are gone and Sheets has been just too sharp to lose it now. As for games two and three, Harang and Cueto seem to confuse the hell out of Brewers hitting. Even worse, Suppan is a bit of a mess right now after a rough outing against New York and Gallardo won't be the sharp prospect were used to with his first start back. The Crew will likely need some run-support if they plan on taking this series.