Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker knew the team’s current
stretch would be one of its toughest, but his club still has a firm
hold on the NL Central lead despite a bit of a slump.
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ current skid may be a little more
troubling for their postseason hopes.
Cincinnati sends Bronson Arroyo to the mound when it visits
Arizona for the opener of a three-game series Monday night.
By the time the Reds complete the upcoming series, they’ll have
played 17 games in 16 days – a stretch during which they’re
currently 8-6 following Sunday’s 8-2 loss to St. Louis.
Cincinnati (77-52), though, has a six-game lead over the
Cardinals in the Central despite losing three of its last four.
”This is a tough stretch for us. We knew it’d be tough,” Baker
”We’ve got to push and push the next three days. These are the
dog days. We’ve got to finish strong in August.”
The Reds hope to get another solid outing out of Arroyo, who has
won three consecutive starts.
Arroyo (10-7, 3.87 ERA) improved to 6-1 with a 3.50 ERA in his
last seven outings after giving up two runs and three hits in eight
innings of Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Philadelphia.
”I had good stuff,” Arroyo said. ”I was hitting my spots on
both sides of the plate. It’s one of the best games I’ve
His current hot stretch began after he gave up five runs and
eight hits in a season-low three innings of a 5-3 loss to Arizona
on July 16 as the teams split a four-game series. Miguel Montero
homered off him in that contest and is 8 for 15 with three home
runs lifetime against the right-hander.
Arroyo had gone 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in his previous four starts
versus the Diamondbacks, who are in danger of falling farther back
in the postseason race unless they can turn things around
Arizona (64-64) has lost three straight and five of seven after
being swept at home by San Diego, falling 5-4 in Sunday’s finale.
The Diamondbacks, who also have dropped 10 of 14 at home and are
chasing San Francisco in the NL West, are 6 1/2 games behind St.
Louis for the second wild-card spot.
”When you get into streaks like this, sometimes it doesn’t seem
fair,” manager Kirk Gibson said. ”There (is) no rhyme or reason,
but it is the way it worked out for us.”
Diamondbacks starting pitchers have a 7.12 ERA over their last
seven games, and they traded left-hander Joe Saunders to Baltimore
for reliever Matt Lindstrom on Sunday.
One reason that mark isn’t even worse is because of a solid
performance from Tyler Skaggs, who will take the hill Monday.
Skaggs (1-0, 2.70) had an impressive major league debut
Wednesday, allowing two runs and three hits in 6 2-3 innings of a
3-2 win over Miami.
Gibson said the left-hander will see plenty more action this
season to help prepare him for the future.
“We’re going to keep Tyler in the rotation, just give him an
exposure to the situation we are in, in a pennant race, that’ll do
him well for next year as well,” Gibson told the team’s official
The Reds announced Sunday that star first baseman Joey Votto,
who hasn’t played since July 15 after injuring his left knee, will
begin a rehab assignment with Single-A Dayton on Tuesday.