Welcome home, Bravos. It's been a long time. Stay a while and listen! (Bonus points if you know where that phase comes from). Let me give you a little rundown on the odd two game series we're playing against the Reds:
Game 1: Delgado v. Bailey
Game 2: Hudson v. Cueto
Ok, so right off the bat I'll point out that Delgado has been steadily improving. He's moved off my list and into my mildly-concerned category. As in I'm minorly concerned when he takes the hill. The Braves are 3-3 in his 6 starts, but he has been trending in the right direction. The 4.54 ERA still has to be into the 3s before I get comfortable with him. One thing to note is that Delgado has been dominant against right handed hitters, holding them to a .182 average. However, his splits against lefties are almost .300 and double the amount of RBIs. That means you are loathe to throw him out there against a lefty dominant lineup. Luckily, the Reds only have two left-handed hitters. Unluckily, those two guys are Jay Bruce and Joey Votto, two guys that are slugging a combined .600 for the year. So...not sure what's going to happen there. On the other hand, we're red hot, and Homer Bailey suuuuuuucks. With a 4.93 ERA, he got smashed in his last outing against the Brewers, giving up 6 runs in 3.2 innings on the road. Homer's best outings have come against the Cubs hitters. Let me check. Yep, the Cubs are 13th in the NL in scoring. So that's nothing Homer's parents are putting on the wall at home.
In the second matchup, Hudson has faced most of the Reds hitters before, and Joey Votto in particular has yet to have a hit off of him. That's a good sign for us that Huddy can keep most of these guys in check, provided he gets out of inning #1. Tim's only game where he got into real trouble was the road match in Colorado, so I don't think that's indicative of his season. Right now, his ERA is inflated, but Timmy has a 2.46 ERA at Turner field over the last 3 years. He loves some home cooking. He'll be facing off against Cueto, the Reds Ace. The Reds are 6-1 in Cueto starts, and 3-1 on the road. The lone loss was against the Cardinals when the Reds couldn't post more than one run. Cueto can and will go deep into games, and he's managed a 1.12 ERA on the season, well below his career 3.65 ERA. There's two ways to look at that. You can either say he's pitching out of his mind right now, and he will trend back to that career number. Or, you can say he's pitching out of his mind right now, and we are catching him at the wrong time. Either way, we do know that Prado, McCann, and Uggla have a combined .348 batting average against Cueto, so I trust the heart of our lineup can do some serious damage.
There's no reason in my mind why we can't take both of these games at home. The matchups set up well for us to score a few runs and get to the bullpens with a lead. Whether or not that happens, we'll have to see, but I don't think there's any shame in a 1-1 split for a shortened series. I do think we need to jump on Bailey at his low point while we're hot. Cueto can be a tougher nut to crack. Also, I'll be at the Ted on Tuesday night to celebrate a belated Mother's Day with my Mom! So we'll get to see the duel up close and personal.