Jul 31, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds outfielder Xavier Paul (26) steals second under the San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera (2) during the eighth inning at Great American Ball Park. The Reds defeated the Padres 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
The Padres (18-21) start a 6-game road trip in Cincinnati where they face the struggling Reds (17-19). The Reds just activated Aroldis Chapman off the DL, and he got his first save on Sunday. The Reds are still without OF Jay Bruce, who is on the DL with a knee injury and also Mat Latos is sidelined. The first game of the series on Tuesday will feature ace Andrew Cashner (2-5, 2.86 ERA) against Fallbrook High School graduate Mike Leake (2-3, 3.40 ERA). Cashner has lost 4 straight decisions, which is not all his fault. A lot of that is due to poor defense behind him and little run support. He still has not pitched well and is looking to rebound. In Game 2, the Padres send out Ian Kennedy (2-4, 3.12 ERA) who is coming off one of the best, if not the best start of his career, where he struck out 12 and also hit a home run, taking on the MLB leader in ERA Johnny Cueto (3-2, 1.43 ERA). The finale on Thursday has Tyson Ross (4-3, 3.02 ERA) facing Alfredo Simon (4-2, 2.89 ERA).
The Reds are middle-of-the-pack offensively, but are 3rd in the majors in home runs at home. It has been their pitching, much like San Diego, that has kept them afloat. They have a team ERA of 3.47 and hold opponents to a .230 batting average. That number actually drops to .217 when they pitch at Great American Ballpark. The surprise for the Reds this year has been that of Todd Frazier, who leads the team with 7 HR and 21 RBI. Joey Votto has not had a Joey Votto-like start, hitting .258 with only 12 RBI.
The Padres’ last visit to Cincinnati didn’t go well, losing 2 out of 3 in August of last year. The Friars were 3-3 against the Reds last season. The key to the Padres winning the series this go-around is keeping Billy Hamilton off the base paths. He is 4th in the league with 12 stolen bases. Jedd Gyorko and Seth Smith look to continue their hot streaks. Gyorko leads the team with 5 HR and 19 RBI.