Here's the Phillies' cumulative pitching line in their last three games against the Cincinnati Reds, the National League's best hitting team this season, at notoriously hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park:
29 innings, 12 hits (3 doubles), 8 walks, 25 strikeouts, 0 runs
I'm guessing you've heard something about Roy Halladay's no-hitter in Game One on Wednesday. In case you've forgotten, the Phillies finished the first half with consecutive 1-0 victories over the Reds, finishing off a four-game sweep. The Saturday contest was a classic, with Halladay throwing nine shutout innings--and getting outpitched by Travis Wood, who took a perfect game into the bottom of the ninth before Carlos Ruiz led off with a double. (I'll pause here to again thank Dusty Baker for electing not to start Wood in either Wednesday's opener or Friday's Game Two.) After the Phils stranded him, Brad Lidge pitched out of severe trouble in the top of the tenth, and the Phils finally won in 11 when Ruiz doubled again with one out and Jimmy Rollins singled him in three batters later. The Phils again downed the Reds by the narrowest of margins in the Sunday finale, as Cole Hamels threw 7.2 scoreless innings and Jose Contreras, J.C. Romero and Lidge combined to notch the final four outs. A Ruiz double and a Rollins RBI single were the scoring combination again, in the bottom of the third against former Phils prospect Matt Maloney.
The Reds' best offensive performance in the three contests? Miguel Cairo in the first 1-0 game, when he went 2 for 3 with a double and a sacrifice off Halladay. Orlando Cabrera, who had a word of complaint about Wednesday's strike zone, managed two singles against Doc in the same game. Jay Bruce, who drew the walk in Wednesday's no-no, doubled off Lidge in the 10th. Paul Janish had two singles against Hamels in the Sunday game, and Joey Votto doubled to chase Cole in the eighth after having walked and lined out earlier.
So starter Roy Oswalt has a good deal to live up to when he takes the mound for Game Two. The good news? He brings a 23-3 career record and 2.81 ERA in 34 career appearances (32 starts) against the Reds. But that's over a ten-year career, during which time he faced (and mostly pwned) a passel of Scott Hattebergs and Sean Caseys and Ryan Freels; how about this Reds team?
Oswalt did lose his two 2010 starts against Cincy, both made before the late-July trade that brought him over from the Astros. He was a hard-luck loser in the first one, a late-April loss in Houston, but got smacked around in the second three months later. Here's how some of the current Reds have fared against Little Roy, as his new teammates have dubbed him, in their careers:
Jay Bruce: 7-29, 2 2b, BB, K, SB, .241/.267/.310
Orlando Cabrera: 3-12, BB, K, .250/.333/.250
Jim Edmonds: 11-51, 2b, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 20 K, 216/.263/.353
Ramon Hernandez: 5-11, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, .455/.538/.727
Laynce Nix: 9-17, 3 2b, 3b, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, 2 K, .529/.556/.1.176
Brandon Phillips: 12-38, 5 2b, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 SB, .316/.350/.447
Scott Rolen: 9-42, 5 2b, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, .214/.244/.333
Drew Stubbs: 2-6, HR, RBI, BB, 2 K, SB, .333/.429/.833
Joey Votto: 10-30, 2 2b, 2 HR, 7 RBI, BB, 4 K, .333/.355/600
With pretty much all those guys in the lineup tomorrow (Stubbs or Edmonds presumably will sit), a fourth straight shutout of the Reds seems a bit much to hope for. So, Roy: no pressure. Just win the friggin' game.