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Reds Series Preview: First Place Cincinnati Comes To Town

 (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Getty Images

The first place Cincinnati Reds come to town trying to hold off the upstart Pittsburgh Pirates after splitting four games with the Giants in the first leg of their eleven game west coast road trip.

The road trip consists of four games with the Giants, three games with the Dodgers, and four games with the Padres.

Given how June threw everything at the Dodgers, it is possible that July has a different wind brewing. As of right now Joey Votto is day to day with inflammation in his right knee. He missed Saturday and Sunday with Miguel Cairo taking his spot.

Mark Clements of had this to say in his preview:

Baker listed Votto as day to day, and Votto said his injury "is progressing." No timeline has been set on his return.

"I will have to talk to Paul [Lessard, the head athletic trainer] and Dusty about it," Votto said. "It's usually their decision and it's my knee's decision, not really mine."

The Reds may not need Votto's bat Monday as they take on a Dodgers squad that has struggled mightily the last two weeks.

The Dodgers will face Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, and Mike Leake

Bailey is as inconsistent as they come, but Johnny Cueto is once again one of the best pitchers in the NL. I'm sure Tony LaRussa will take comfort in knowing he can call on the struggling Lance Lynn instead of the consistent Cueto as he tries to make the NL the home town team in the World Series.

At this point it seems pointless to do pitching reviews since anyone and his mother can blank this team.

The Reds have a trio of offensive players that have consistently performed for the last five years, how many teams can say that?

  • Votto has basically become the best hitter in the NL and probably the frontrunner to win his 2nd MVP so if he's hurt, then I declare EVEN STEPHEN.
  • Brandon Phillips is a good player, an exciting player, a defensive whirlwind, a player who says the things that makes you root for him. He is everything right about the game of baseball.
  • Jay Bruce may not have become the superstar some expected but he has certainly been a solid right fielder over the last five years and at age 25 that superstardom is still quite possible.

The rest of the group all have pluses and minuses with some good young talent already contributing in meaningful ways.

The Shortstop is 26 year old Zack Cozart who is getting his first taste of everyday duty and is doing okay. Not good, not bad, but okay. That okay is far from the putrid that has been Dee Gordon up to now.

3rd base still belongs to Scott Rolen when the ancient one can take the field. He just came off the DL, is kind of hurt again, so maybe he plays one game this series. To bad for us because when he doesn't play their best young hitter is Todd Frazier and he plays 3rd base when Rolen cannot make it. The Dodgers would kill for a Todd Frazier as he is pretty much the second best hitting 3rd baseman in the NL.

Catching has been shared by veteran Ryan Hanigan and top 2007 draft pick Devin Mesoraco. Neither is doing much at the moment but they expect plenty in the future from Mesoraco.

CF is still Drew Stubbs but he's now getting competition for time from Chris Heisey who has played 18 games there this season. Stubbs still can't hit enough but this year neither is Heisey.

LF has Ryan Ludwick and Heisey are also sharing duties. Both are right handed so I can't tell you how Dusty decides who plays and who does not. If Rolen does play 3rd base then Todd Fraizer might be seen in LF as they need his bat in the lineup.

The Bullen has the fire balling Aroldis Chapman, he of the 17 K/9 rate in June. Sean Marshall continues to do an excellent job as a left handed setup man. Not many teams setup with a lefty and then close with a lefty but it seems to be working. Angel refugee Jose Arrendondo is only throwing 90 now after hitting 93 for the Angels (TJ does not always make you throw harder) but he's getting results. Here is the rest of the group