Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park, we have a rather intriguing pitching match-up.
Taking the mound for the Chicago Cubs is Jeff Samardzija. After an impressive season debut, Samardzija got roughed up in his next two starts, giving up 10 runs and 18 hits in 8 2/3 innings.
But he seemed to have gotten back on track in his last outing, holding the St. Louis Cardinals to four hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He also struck out a season-high nine batters.
Samardzija's two bad starts were on the road, while he's excelled at home. Will he struggle again away from Wrigley Field Wednesday night?
In his subsequent three starts, however, Arroyo has been excellent. He's allowed only four earned runs over 20 1/3 innings. But unlike Samardzija, Arroyo might pitch better on the road. In two starts at Great American Ball Park, he's given up 19 hits in 11 1/3 innings.
The Reds have to be encouraged by Arroyo only serving up two home runs thus far. Last year, he allowed 46 homers. At this point last season, he'd surrendered four, but really began to tee it up from there.
OK, so we've gone over the numbers and all that. Both pitchers are a key component to their teams' starting rotation. The Reds have a chance to go over .500 and maintain their second-place standing in the NL Central. Yeah, yeah, yeah — whatever.
Let's get to what really makes this an important pitching matchup. This is about the hair. Check out the head shots from MLB.com.
These guys have serious manes trailing from the back of their caps. I'd argue it's not a good look for a baseball player, but long hair does add some variety to the game. It would be boring if everyone was clean-cut like the New York Yankees.
Samardzija appears to have the edge, but that could be distorted by the camera angle. Besides, those photos were taken during spring training. We're at least a month past that.
I'm hoping MLB Network catches Samardzija and Arroyo comparing their hair during pregame workouts with their "Ballpark Cam." Maybe a trainer can bring a ruler or tape measure over to see whose hair is longer. Isn't that what this should really be about?
However, we'll really know that the baseball gods have a sense of humor if Bryan LaHair ends up getting the key hit in this game. That would be glorious. Almost as glorious as the locks flowing from the caps of Samardzija and Arroyo.
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