Monday, May 6, 2013

McCann debuts in Reds vs Braves showdown

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right"

The morning box score chatter has never been more focused on a little number called “Left on Base” – and too often spoken of in a negative manner. Upon deeper reflection this may be one of the most irrelevant and misconstrued statistics. If you think about the full dynamics of the game, one can’t help but to notice that LOB is actually a good thing. Bottom line is the team is putting runners on the bags. Let’s be honest, if a team wins a game with zero players LOB, you can only assume they scored their runs on HRs, sacrifice rib eyes, or they score a run, and then go down 1-2-3 – which doesn’t really happen. Now, unless the club self-destructs, a high LOB number is usually accompanied by a slew of runs and a notch in the win column. Check out box scores across the league on a given day – you’ll soon see that most teams who won their respective game had more runners stranded on the bags compared to their lesser opponent.

Back to business – The Reds fly home after sweeping the down trodden Cubbies in Wrigley. Speaking of Wrigley, the weeds in the outfield look pretty miserable this time of year. Bill Veeck (the man who planted the ivy in 1937) should have kept to popcorn vending. There are a lot of things to focus on for tonight’s series opener where the Cincinnati Reds host the Atlanta Braves.

J. Upton hits a hitter’s park – Justin Upton leads in long balls with an astonishing 12 with the first month of baseball behind him, though only hitting .231 against Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo is known for giving up some long balls, especially at Great American Ballpark. Justin Upton has 26 at bats with two homers and six rib eye steaks on the veteran right hander and will be looking to notch yet another HR tonight on the river.

Phillips hot, Cozart room temperature – Brandon Phillips has been the backbone of the Reds offense during April and will be looking to put runs on the board keeping Bronson ahead in the game. Dat dude BP has 27 RBIs on the season and is currently swinging a .281/.328/.463 line. To keep things moving forward, BP is hitting .355 against the Braves starter Maholm (3-3 3.08 ERA). In 31 at bats, BP has a homer and three rib eyes on the Braves hurler. Reds SS Zach Cozart has been struggling at the plate, but looks to change the course of things tonight with his .333 record against Maholm.

The rise of McCann – Brian McCann is off the DL and looks to make his comeback start tonight against these Redlegs. He carries with him a career .556 batting average against Arroyo (2-3 3.95 ERA). Arroyo also has given up the most long balls of the Reds club with 5 on the season. On a side-note, Brian McCann’s girl is gorgeous.

Arroyo must go deep – Bronson can do a lot for the Reds club tonight – he can take them deep into the game. The Reds have relied heavily on their bullpen throughout the start of the year and only two of their starters have had the ability to pitch a lot of innings. So far, Arroyo has hurled 41 innings, second to Mat Latos’ 44.1 IP. If he can take them into the 7th or 8th, the well-rested fireballer, Aroldis Chapman should get a chance for a save tonight. As for Arroyo’s pitches, well he has some of the best in the game – being an old school hurler, he has a low velocity fast ball but with incredible movement. He throws a hard slider, changeup, and his lights-out curve ball. With a monster leg kick to his 12 inch sweeping curve, Arroyo will need to be on his game to keep the streaking Braves at bay.
How will this great series go down? Whichever team walks away with the series will surely have put up some serious runs - as mentioned before, this won't be a pitchers duel, it will be a slug-fest at GABP.

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