Cincinnati Reds (61-64) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (67-57)
Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 8:15 p.m. at Busch Stadium
Still looking for that ever elusive first win since the All-Star break, Tuesday night would be a perfect time for Simon to rebound to first half form. With injuries and rainouts now beginning to mangle the starting rotation, the Reds’ model of consistency from the first half needs to pull deep into his bag of tricks to keep the Cardinals off balance.
Heading into the All-Star break (that would not be a break at all due to his selection to the National League club), Simon had rattled off eight consecutive quality starts. In his six starts since, he has managed only one.
Yet to face St. Louis this season, Simon has appeared in 14 games over his career in a total of 22.1 innings and posted a respectable 3.18 ERA. Seeing the same batters twice, or even three times in a contest is quite different from a one or two inning relief appearance—something Simon will have to adjust to.
Here is the lineup he will be facing via the team’s Twitter account:
3B – Matt Carpenter (1-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI)
2B – Kolten Wong (0-for-2, 1 K)
LF – Matt Holliday (1-for-8, 1 K, 3 BB’s)
1B – Matt Adams (2-for-2, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI)
SS – Jhonny Peralta (1-for-6, 1 2B)
CF – Jon Jay (2-for-8, 2 BB, 2 K’s)
RF – Oscar Taveras (yet to face Simon)
C – Tony Cruz (0-for-2)
P – John Lackey (yet to face Simon)
The St. Louis Cardinals unloaded quite the hefty package to the Boston Red Sox in order to acquire a one-time All-Star and 35-year-old who is just two years removed from Tommy John surgery. Allen Craig had been a staple of their offensive identity and Joe Kelly was an up-and-coming young fireballer (which they have plenty of), but both were packaged in order to acquire the veteran savvy and bombastic personality that John Lackey possesses.
In his three starts since joining the Cardinals at the Trade Deadline, Lackey has been quality in two of them, pitching seven innings of two-run baseball in each. His middle start, against the Baltimore Orioles, was a mugging. Allowing nine runs and 13 hits in just five innings of work, Lackey must have been quite pleased to be out of the American League East.
A Los Angeles Angel (of Anaheim) for the majority of his career, Lackey has actually faced the Reds before. It came all the way back in 2007, but Lackey would pitch six innings and allowed just a single earned run in route to a victory.
Here is the lineup he will face via the team’s Twitter account:
CF – Billy Hamilton (yet to face Lackey)
RF – Jay Bruce (yet to face Lackey)
3B – Todd Frazier (yet to face Lackey)
C – Devin Mesoraco (yet to face Lackey)
LF – Ryan Ludwick (0-for-6, 2 BB’s, 3 K’s)
2B – Brandon Phillips (0-for-5, 3 K’s)
1B – Brayan Pena (3-for-6, 1 2B)
SS – Zack Cozart (yet to face Lackey)
P – Alfredo Simon (yet to face Lackey)
With the bullpen mired in a slump that has seen them allow 11 runs in their final inning of work in the last three games combined, a start deep into the game from Simon is needed maybe more than ever. Going up against the starting pitcher from Game 6 of last year’s World Series will not create for an easy task, but with Lackey’s lack of familiarity with the league, the Redlegs may be able to keep swinging the lumber. The game will get underway at 8:15 p.m. tonight from Missouri.