Reds, Phillies clash
April 15, 2013
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Sportsbook.ag MLB Game of Day
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (6-6) at CINCINNATI REDS (5-7)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Philadelphia -118 & 7.5 under -115
Red-hot Philadelphia looks to move above .500 for the first time this season when it begins a three-game set at slumping Cincinnati during Monday's league-wide Jackie Robinson Day celebration.
The Phillies have won four of their past five games, outscoring opponents 21 to 10 over this stretch and posting a miniscule 1.79 team ERA. Roy Halladay allowed just one run and five hits in eight strong innings in Sunday's 2-1 win over Miami. Meanwhile, the Reds dropped their final five contests of a six-game road trip on Sunday, as they blew a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning in Pittsburgh and lost 10-7. It might not get any easier playing a Phillies team that has won 18 of its past 22 meetings with Cincinnati (including playoffs). This includes a 7-1 record in the past eight games at Great American Ball Park, where Philly has outscored the Reds 34-12. The Phillies also have the decided pitching advantage on Monday with former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee opposing Cincinnati veteran right-hander Bronson Arroyo.
The Philadelphia offense has been very average this season, ranking 17th in the majors in runs (48), 15th in batting (.258), 16th in on-base percentage (.314) and 15th in slugging (.406). The bats have been especially quiet on the road with a mere 10 runs (one homer) in the past five away games. 3B Michael Young (.357 BA) is the only regular hitting above .300 and 2B Chase Utley (10 RBI) is the only player with more than 6 RBI in the first 12 games of the season. Although the pitching is finally coming together, the Phils bullpen has struggled in 2013, posting a 4.64 ERA and 1.45 WHIP due to 17 walks in 33 innings.
Cliff Lee (2-0, 1.08 ERA, 0.60 WHIP) has been the team's best pitcher by a wide margin, allowing just two earned runs in 16.2 innings to start the season. He has struck out 14 batters and walked none in these two starts, holding opponents to a .167 BA and .267 slugging percentage. Lee has also been supported with 10 runs over his first two starts, something he didn't get much of last season when he threw 21 quality starts, but won just six games. The Phillies ended up with a 12-18 record (40%) in Lee's 30 starts in 2012. One of those outings was against the Reds, where he allowed just two earned runs with nine strikeouts over 6.2 innings despite Cincy banging out nine hits. Despite a 6-2 career record versus the Reds, he carries a below-standard 3.91 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in these 11 starts in the series. Two Cincinnati players have had great success versus Lee in their careers, as 1B Joey Votto has a .385 BA and .692 SLG in 13 at-bats, while 2B Brandon Phillips has hit .308 with three doubles, 1 HR, 4 RBI and just one strikeout in 27 plate appearances. Lee has dominated OF Jay Bruce though, holding him to a .188 BA (3-for-16) with six strikeouts.
The Reds offense has been pretty potent so far in 2013 with 65 runs (5th in MLB) and a .342 on-base percentage (6th in majors). The offensive numbers have been off the charts in the past four games at Great American Ball Park, where they've scored 32 runs with 10 homers, a .325 BA, .373 OBP and .591 slugging. OF Shin-Soo Choo is loving his new club, leading them in both average (.354 BA) and runs (11), but veteran 2B Brandon Phillips has been the Reds' best hitter at .327 BA, 4 HR, 14 RBI and 10 runs. 3B Todd Frazier (.318 BA, 3 HR, 10 RBI) is also on fire to start the season, and although star 1B Joey Votto is stuck on one home run, he's batting .289 with a league-best .542 OBP, thanks to 20 walks, which are nine more than any other player in the majors. Cincinnati's pitching has been problematic though, carrying a 4.54 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in the first 12 games this season. This includes subpar bullpen numbers of 4.82 ERA and 1.42 WHIP, as Reds relievers have served up seven homers in 37.1 innings.
Bronson Arroyo (1-1, 5.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) hasn't pitched his best, but he has kept his team in both of his starts, allowing three runs in six innings in the opener, then giving up four runs in six innings in his most recent outing in St. Louis. The Reds had an 18-14 record (56%) with Arroyo on the mound last season, including 9-5 (64%) at home, where Arroyo had a pedestrian 3.98 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. However, the right-hander's career numbers versus Philly are downright awful over 11 career games (10 starts), as he carries a 2-7 record with a 6.55 ERA and 1.51 WHIP against Monday's opponent. Arroyo was able to end an 11-year win drought versus this club last year though, when he allowed just two runs on three hits over eight strong innings, striking out four and walking nobody in that victory. All four of Philly's regular players with more than 10 career at-bats against Arroyo have posted strong numbers against the right-hander. SS Jimmy Rollins is 6-for-18 with 2 HR and 5 RBI, 2B Chase Utley and 3B Michael Young are both batting .313 (5-for-16), and 1B Ryan Howard is 4-for-14 (.286 BA) with two doubles and a homer off Arroyo.
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