CINCINNATI - Cincinnati Reds, take a bow. Finally, the St. Louis Cardinals have taken notice to the pesky team that just won't go away.
Coach Tony La Russa made an unprecedented change to last week's pitching rotation. The reason? His Cardinals weren't in first place, and he wanted his three best pitchers to be seen in Cincinnati for the upcoming home series.
Last Monday, newly acquired Jake Westbrook was penciled in at the last minute to start against the Astros. His first start was tarnished as the Cardinals were defeated by the Astros 8 to 4. That loss, coupled with a Reds win would offer even more cushioning for the Redlegs in the race for October.
Talk about a big upcoming series against the Cardinals. Each game won or lost will put the Reds ahead or behind by an entire game. They'll face the top three pitchers for the Cardinals (Carpenter, Garcia and Wainwright). All three pitchers have an earned run average of less than 3.00--an impressive statistic. What this series will offer can be compared to a playoff-like atmosphere. Cincinnati fans have been hungry for the past 20-years.
The last time I went down to the ballpark, I could literally smell October.
I welcome the pitching change the Cardinals made last week. The Reds need to be challenged with the best of the best, especially if the playoffs are on their mind. The Reds already enter into the series with a 3-6 record this season with the Cardinals. That simply will not do.
Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Bronson Arroyo are scheduled to start in the Cardinals series.
Game one--Leake vs. Carpenter: a matchup of young vs. old. Carpenter has been through the highs and lows of his career, and managed to stay on top through most of it. In 2005, arguably the best overall season in his career, he put together a record of 21 wins to 5 losses. He struck out 213 during that season. This season Carpenter is well on pace to record 16 to 18 victories.
Leake represents a new era of baseball. A hot start this season (going 5-0), has ended in a cooling off period. In his last 9-starts, Leake has posted a 2-3 record. What better time to rebuttal with a win over one of the game's best?
Key to victory--hit early and often on Carpenter. The Reds have a proven track record of doing this. I like to compare it to the Philadelphia's pitching ace in Roy Halladay. On June 30th, the Reds lit into Halladay with 13 hits and four runs scored.
What's your opinion on the upcoming Reds/Cardinals series? Let us know what you think in the comment box below!
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