The Cincinnati Reds haven’t been playing their best lately, but they’re still in position to advance to the postseason for the first time in 15 years. Right-hander Edinson Volquez(notes) would like to be in the playoff rotation should that happen.
Volquez looks for a third straight quality start Tuesday night when the NL Central-leading Reds try to win their seventh in a row against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Despite losing 11 of 19 in September, Cincinnati (85-66) owns a seven-game divisional lead over St. Louis. The Reds’ magic number dropped to six following Monday’s 5-2 victory at Miller Park.
“They want it badly, and some of the guys need a rest badly, like Joey (Votto) in particular,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker. “He’s operating on fumes, but perhaps we’ll win tomorrow and (the Cardinals) lose and then maybe I can give him a day off on Wednesday. He’s dragging.”
It’s hard to tell. Votto, who is tied for second in the NL with 35 homers after hitting a two-run shot Monday, is batting .359 while hitting safely in 10 straight.
He is hitting .444 (8 for 18) with two homers and five RBIs in four games at Miller Park this season.
Looking for their first series win on the road since Aug. 20-22, the Reds are hoping for another solid outing from Volquez (3-3, 4.99 ERA).
With the first two playoff starts likely going to Bronson Arroyo(notes) and Johnny Cueto(notes), Volquez has been making a strong case for the third spot. Since being called up from Class-A Dayton, he is 0-1 with a 1.98 ERA in two starts.
“They haven’t made (out) the (playoff) roster yet. We’ll see what Dusty’s got,” Volquez told the Reds’ official website after yielding three runs in 6 2-3 innings of Thursday’s 3-1 loss to Arizona.
Volquez, who returned in July after missing nearly a year following Tommy John surgery, is 2-1 with a 6.84 ERA in five career starts against Milwaukee. Making his first road start in nearly 14 months, he walked four and lasted just 3 2-3 innings in a 12-4 victory at Miller Park on July 27.
The veteran right-hander will look to finish stronger than he did in Wednesday’s 8-6, 10-inning victory in Houston. Bush was perfect through four innings but was tagged for six runs in the fifth.
“It was kind of strange really,” manager Ken Macha said. “Bush had four perfect innings and then he just couldn’t stop what was going on there.”
Bush, who faces Cincinnati for the first time this season, is 2-4 with a 7.07 ERA in 12 starts versus the Reds.
Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, who is batting .373 with four homers and 13 RBIs in his last 14 games, has five hits in 13 at-bats against Volquez.
Cincinnati has won eight of nine versus Milwaukee this season.