Royals-Reds Preview

The Cincinnati Reds have never faced Zack Greinke, but from

their perspective, they may be getting introduced to the reigning

AL Cy Young winner at the perfect time.

The struggling Greinke tries to avoid losing a fifth straight

start for the first time since he was a rookie Sunday when his

Kansas City Royals decide their series in Cincinnati.

Greinke (1-8, 4.05 ERA) led the majors with a 2.16 ERA last

year, but very little has come easily for the right-hander in 2010

while the Royals have lost 11 of his 13 starts.

The last four outings have been particularly frustrating for

Greinke, who is 0-4 with a 7.97 ERA in that stretch, with opponents

hitting .355. The only time Greinke has lost five consecutive

starts was as a 20-year-old from June 13-July 6, 2004.

“Usually a bad game is like three runs, and they’ve been five-,

six-, seven-run games,” Greinke said. “I don’t know where that’s

coming from. Not getting out of innings. Usually it’s two outs and

the inning’s over, and not lately.”

Greinke went 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA in interleague play over the

last two years, but he allowed eight runs – seven earned – in 3 1-3

innings of an 11-7 loss to Colorado on May 23.

He wasn’t much better Tuesday at Minnesota, giving up six runs

in five innings of a 7-3 defeat, although Kansas City manager Ned

Yost remained upbeat.

“I liken it to a hitter going through a slump,” Yost said. “You

find ways to work your way through it and work your way out of it.

He’s a guy that works real hard. As soon as it was over, he was on

the video looking at it. He’ll work his way out of it.”

The Royals (26-37) have also done little to help Greinke, who

has not received a run of support in any of his last four outings.

Only Houston’s Felipe Paulino and Baltimore’s Kevin Millwood have

received less run support in the majors this season.

The NL Central-leading Reds (36-27) continue to pile up runs in

bunches. They’ve totaled 29 runs in their last four games – winning

three of them – and their .312 team average since May 5 is easily

the best in the majors.

With two home runs and a career-high six RBIs, Jonny Gomes

provided the spark in Saturday’s 11-5 win over the Royals. Gomes is

batting .452 with six homers and 29 RBIs in his last 21 home

games.

“This game will drive you crazy with its ups and downs,” Gomes

said. “A win like this and an individual night like that will put a

smile on your face. It makes it all worth it.”

Brandon Phillips also had an impressive game, going 3 for 4 with

a home run to extend his hitting streak to 15 – the longest current

streak in the majors.

Reds rookie Sam LeCure (1-2, 3.12) certainly hopes the onslaught

continues as he makes his fourth major league start.

After getting a 15-6 win over Houston in his debut May 28, the

right-hander hasn’t gotten any run support in his last two outings,

losing despite holding San Francisco to one run in six innings of a

3-0 defeat on Tuesday.