After splitting a four game series with the Rockies in Denver, the Braves travel to Cincy to take on the Reds. Atlanta will play a three game set at Great American Ballpark before coming home to take on the Pirates early next week. After a come-from-behind victory, the Braves find themselves four games back of the Phillies in the NL East.
The Reds are now just 11-17 in their last 28 games and have fallen under .500 to 48-50. That record has them 4.5 back of the Brewers in the Central and 9.5 back of the Braves in the Wild Card race. Though they are a compelling team at the plate, the Reds are rather unimpressive from the mound. Their team ERA is twelfth in the National League and their starters’ ERA is good for fourteenth. Their bullpen has been missing Jose Arredondo recently, on the DL with a strained right forearm, but he will be returning to action against Atlanta on Friday.
The Reds’ lineup is a scary one. On any given night Dusty Baker will put Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen, and Jay Bruce into the heart of his lineup card. We can hope that JJ and Beachy bounce back from rough outings to shut down these big bats.
Braves fans will get a look at Jonny Gomes this weekend as well. Gomes is a name that has come up in trade rumors surrounding the Braves. It is hard to track just what Frank Wren and company are doing, but Gomes is a player that the Braves could definitely use. He is a right-handed bat that has some power and could come in to help in the outfield. Although his average isn’t "good" by any stretch of the imagination (.215), he gets on base a fair amount more than Jordan Schafer and the OPS of .748 is a major step up.
Friday 7/22/11 7:10 PM
#49 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jan 29, 1986
|2011 - Jair Jurrjens||12-3||17||17||2||1||0||0||115.2||101||31||29||5||27||71||2.26||1.11|
#61 / Pitcher / Cincinnati Reds
Feb 24, 1977
|2011 - Bronson Arroyo||7-8||20||19||0||0||0||0||114.2||136||75||71||26||25||68||5.57||1.40|
Jair Jurrjens will face off against Bronson Arroyo in game one of the series. While Jurrjens had a poor outing during his last start, Arroyo can’t seem to get it together in the month of July whatsoever. Arroyo is one of those highly paid pitchers that I can’t recall ever actually being any good. On the year his ERA is sitting at a hefty 5.57.
Saturday 7/23/11 4:10 PM
#32 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jun 01, 1973
|2011 - Derek Lowe||6-7||21||21||0||0||0||0||119.1||123||59||58||7||43||83||4.37||1.39|
#34 / Pitcher / Cincinnati Reds
May 03, 1986
|2011 - Homer Bailey||4-4||9||9||0||0||0||0||55.1||52||25||23||8||13||39||3.74||1.17|
Derek Lowe will go up against Homer Bailey in the second game of the set. Lowe wasn’t great during his last turn on the mound, but has won three of his four starts since June 29th. Bailey, meanwhile, has lost three of four since returning from the DL on June 26th.
Sunday 7/24/11 8:05
#37 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Sep 03, 1986
|2011 - Brandon Beachy||3-2||13||13||0||0||0||0||72.0||67||31||30||11||20||81||3.75||1.21|
#50 / Pitcher / Cincinnati Reds
Jan 12, 1982
|2011 - Dontrelle Willis||0-1||2||2||0||0||0||0||10.2||9||4||4||0||5||9||3.38||1.31|
In the final game, the Braves will face their old NL East opponent, Dontrelle Willis. Brandon Beachy will take the mound against the former Marlins star. To be completely honest, I wasn’t even aware that the D-Train was pitching in the Reds organization. I can’t help but like that guy, but it would be great to see him get taken for a ride on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.