Miami Marlins (57-59) vs. Cincinnati Reds (59-58)
LHP Brad Hand (2-3, 4.03 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, .266 OAV) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (13-6, 2.04 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, .183 OAV)
Sunday, August 10, 2014: 1:10 p.m. at Great American Ball Park
Having been placed into the rotation at the beginning of July, Hand has reaped the benefits of frontline starters Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez going on the disabled list.
In his seven starts since his return to the rotation on July 3, Hand has not had a start in which he has allowed more than three runs. Much in the same way as his teammate Nathan Eovaldi, Hand does not dabble into the later innings very often—he is yet to throw 100 pitches in an appearance this season. Once again, it will be paramount for the oft-impatient Reds to work Hand and get the Miami bullpen in the game as soon as possible.
Never before has Hand been an opponent of the Redlegs. Combining that with his 1-5 record with a 5.21 ERA during day games in his career (with a 1.66 WHIP), and it may not serve to be a positive first experience for Mr. Hand.
Here is the lineup he will be facing via the team’s Twitter account: (none of the batters have faced Hand on a previous occasion)
2B – Kristopher Negron
RF – Jay Bruce
1B – Todd Frazier
C – Devin Mesoraco
LF – Ryan Ludwick
CF – Chris Heisey
3B – Ramon Santiago
SS – Zack Cozart
P – Johnny Cueto
Needing to execute his role as stopper flawlessly, Johnny Cueto gets the ball at home in order to keep the Reds from being swept by the Marlins. There is no better pitcher in the game when the sun is shining bright, as Cueto is 6-2 with a 1.59 ERA in 11 starts this year.
Last weekend, Cueto would throw seven innings of four-hit, one-run baseball while striking out nine en route to his third career victory against Miami. The lineup will not be significantly shuffled, so either the Marlin hitters will have to adapt, or perish under Cueto’s command.
If Cueto has been susceptible anywhere in his career, it has been the first inning. He posts his highest opponent batting average (.261), opponent on-base percentage (.336) and most opponent total bases (307) during the opening frame.
With the Marlins already having returned the favor of picking up a series win at Great American, the Redlegs hope that “Johnny Beisbol” can help them avoid a sweep. Still only three games back in the Wild Card picture, the season is surely not finished. Although, the current stretch the Redlegs are facing is their most favorable part of the schedule they have remaining.