The Reds will kick off their longest homestand of the year with a celebration.
Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park will serve as one of the league's hosts for Jackie Robinson Day festivities Monday, a league-wide memorial of the trailblazing pioneer of sports and civil rights. Jackie Robinson Day is the league's annual celebration of the day that Robinson made his MLB debut in 1947 and broke the sport's color barrier.
The Reds will host the Phillies in the first game of a 10-game homestand, but they will honor Robinson with several ceremonies before the game. Brittany Jones, a Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Monday's game, and "Slick" Willie Shaw of the Harlem Globetrotters will serve as an honorary captain.
Cincinnati plans to show the movie trailer of 42: The Jackie Robinson Story before the game and to have in-game fan giveaways that include movie tickets. Robinson, of course, was paid an unprecedented tribute in 1997, when Commissioner Bud Selig directed that his iconic No. 42 would be retired across all of Major League Baseball.
The Phillies have held the opposition to three runs or fewer in five straight games. They took two of three games from Miami over the weekend in a series where the Marlins scored four runs total. Southpaw Cliff Lee will get the ball in Monday's series opener, and he will be matched against Cincinnati veteran Bronson Arroyo.
Lee, a three-time All-Star, has been particularly unhittable this season. Lee is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA through his first two outings, and he has more strikeouts (14) than baserunners via hit (10) and walk (0) combined. Lee has given up one home run this season -- a two-run blast by John Buck in a win over the Mets -- and that accounts for all his earned runs allowed.
Arroyo, meanwhile, has seen some mixed results. The right-hander has gone six innings in both of his starts this season, but he allowed three earned runs in a victory over the Angels and four earned runs in a loss to the Cardinals. Arroyo has given up 13 hits in 12 innings this season.
Cincinnati opened the season with a 4-2 homestand against the Angels and Nationals but most recently went 1-5 on the road against the Cardinals and Pirates. The Reds won the opener of their road trip but were outscored 15-1 in their last two games in St. Louis before getting swept by the Pirates in three games over the weekend.
Phillies: Rollins gets rest
The Phillies gave shortstop Jimmy Rollins a rest Sunday after the veteran had started each of the season's first 11 games. Freddy Galvis started at shortstop and went 2-for-3 in the victory, and Rollins came on late as a pinch-hitter for John Mayberry. Rollins is batting .261 this season, but he is currently battling through an 0-for-8 skid.
The switch-hitter was batting .316 as recently as Wednesday, and he has four multi-hit games in his last 10 starts. Rollins and second baseman Chase Utley have started 968 games together as a double-play combo, the second-highest total in the Major Leagues. Only the Yankees' Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano have played more games (1,036) together.
Reds: Choo setting torrid pace
Shin-Soo Choo went 2-for-4 with a double in Sunday's loss, and he has been remarkably consistent for the Reds so far. Choo has reached base safely in every game that he has played this season, and he has gone hitless in just two of his first 12 games. Choo, who arrived in Cincinnati via a blockbuster three-way trade last winter, is batting .354 thus far with the Reds.
Choo has settled in as the Reds' center fielder and leadoff man, and he has had seven multihit games in his first two weeks on the job. He even became the team's first leadoff hitter to have three homers in the season's first five games since Chris Sabo did it in 1990. Choo, if he can stay hot, most likely has several more milestones ahead of him.
• The Phillies are 2-1 thus far in a stretch of 17 consecutive games without a day off. Philadelphia will not have a day off until April 29 and is scheduled to play 29 games in 30 days.
• The Phillies have had a winning record on the road for nine straight seasons.
• The Reds will host the Marlins and Cubs after Philadelphia leaves town.