Posted: 5:00 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, 2013
Reds and Astros, a matchup that brings back fond memories - Roy Oswalt owning the Red-Legs (23-3 lifetime) and Lance Berkman turning Great American Ballpark into his personal launching pad (23 home runs, highest total for any stadium outside Minute Maid Park). But, how things have changed. The Astros have moved west and the Reds are all but assured a spot this post season.
The Reds, Cardinals, and Pirates have a firm grip on the Wild Card race over Washington, who is currently nine games back. The Astros clearly destroying the integrity of the game as their former Division sends three teams to the playoffs. While the American League West may only send one team this year, Texas I'm looking at you.
The Reds as a team have the second highest on-base percentage in the National League at .328, only one hundredth of a point behind St. Louis. They lead the National League in walks and sacrifice hits. Small ball is live and well with Dusty Baker at the helm.
Let's take a look at the Reds lineup coming into this series, Brandon Phillips had has rough September - batting .196 (10-51) with two extra-base hits. Jay Bruce batting .212 (11-52) this month. Shin-Soo Choo is batting .362 (17-47) in September with seven extra-base hits, nine runs batted in, and 13 walks. Todd Frazier is having his best month of 2013 - batting .340 (16-47) in September. Joey Votto has returned to his normal form this month, hitting .294 (15-51) with 12 walks.
Johnny Cueto is returning from the 60-Day disabled list to pitch in Houston tonight. This will be his first start since June 28 in Texas. Jose Altuve (0-3) and Jason Castro (0-8) each have failed to get a hit off the right-hander in their careers. Matt Dominguez is 1-for-2 with a home run and three runs batted in. Brett Wallace has been feast or famine with Cueto, 2-for-8 with four strikeouts.
For the Astros, Erik Bedard returns to the rotation after Jarred Cosart was shutdown for the season. This will be Bedard's first appearance of any kind since September 8, and his first start since August 21. As a starter, Bedard has a 3-9 record with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.
Shin-Soo Choo has eight previous at-bats against Bedard, he has collected a double and three strikeouts against the left-hander. Jack Hannahan is 3-for-5 against Bedard with a home run.