Two starting pitchers who have had uneven 2014 seasons -- but showed reason for optimism in their last outings -- will be trying to gather more momentum against each other on Saturday.
In the second game of the weekend series between the Reds and Phillies, Homer Bailey (3-2, 4.72 ERA) is starting for Cincinnati against lefty Cole Hamels (0-2, 5.32).
Following a couple of pretty rocky starts, Hamels looked good on Sunday when he allowed seven hits, one run, three walks and struck out 10 in seven innings against the Mets at Citi Field. He was in line for the win, but after Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon told manager Ryne Sandberg he could not pitch because of soreness, the Phillies bullpen blew a three-run lead in the ninth, and eventually the game in 11 innings.
Hamels has enjoyed plenty of success against the Reds in his career. He is 7-0 with a 1.70 ERA against them in 10 career starts.
Bailey also looked good in his previous start. He gave up only a solo homer to Charlie Blackmon over 7 1/3 innings among four hits and six strikeouts during Sunday's 4-1 win over the Rockies. He began his delivery with his hands over his head, a mechanical sequence he had not used since 2009.
"I needed something to get my timing back," Bailey said.
"To make that kind of adjustment over the course of one start is very impressive," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Bailey is 0-3 in eight career starts vs. Philadelphia, but owns a solid 3.61 ERA.
Phillies: Lineup shuffle
It will be interesting to see how Sandberg's lineup looks on Saturday.
He had Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz hit first and second, respectively, in Friday's series opener. They have two of the three highest on-base percentages on the team, but until Friday, Sandberg had Ben Revere (.284 OBP) and Tony Gwynn Jr. (.290 OBP) hitting first.
Revere missed Friday's game because of a stomach virus, although Sandberg acknowledged a change needed to be made.
Reds: Votto has quad strain
Following Friday's game, the Reds' brain trust was planning to meet to discuss the plan of action for first baseman Joey Votto. On Friday, an MRI exam in Cincinnati revealed that Votto had a strained left quadriceps muscle.
The club did not put Votto on the disabled list, but it remained a possibility. With Votto out, Brayan Pena, Neftali Soto or Todd Frazier could see time at first base.
• The Phillies play only National League teams through Aug. 3, which could be a good thing. They are 1-8 against American League teams this season.
• Only the Diamondbacks and Astros have been outscored more than the Phillies this season.
• On Friday, the Reds lineup was missing both Votto and right fielder Jay Bruce (torn meniscus, left knee surgery) for the first time since Sept. 20, 2012, vs. the Cubs.