National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, September 1st
(All times Eastern)
Cincinnati Reds (81-52) at Houston Astros (40-92), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Homer Bailey (10-9, 4.24)
Houston - Lucas Harrell (10-9, 3.92)
(Sports Network) - Skidding right-hander Homer Bailey returns to his home
state tonight when the first-place Cincinnati Reds visit the last-place
Houston Astros in the middle test of a three-game weekend series.
The Reds have the best record in the majors and hold down the top spot in the
National League's Central Division, while the Astros own the worst record in
the big leagues and are 40 1/2 games behind the Reds in the Central.
Bailey, a 26-year-old native of La Grange, Texas, was 9-6 after a 3-1 defeat
of Milwaukee on July 20, but has won just once in seven starts since while
watching his earned run average swell from 3.74 to 4.24.
He's 1-3 in his following seven appearances - the Reds are 4-3 in those games
- and has pitched seven innings just once while failing to last five innings
Bailey dropped an 8-2 verdict at home to St. Louis in his most recent outing
on Aug. 26 after allowing five runs in nine hits in six innings.
Bailey is 4-0 six career starts against the Astros and last faced them on July
25, when he allowed five hits in seven scoreless innings while getting a no-
decision in the team's 5-3 win.
Houston goes with 27-year-old righty Lucas Harrell, who's accounted for 10 of
their 40 wins on the season.
A winner just once in 17 big-league outings before this season, Harrell got to
double digits in 2012 with a 10-1 defeat of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field
on Aug. 14 after allowing a run in eight innings.
He's allowed two or fewer runs in eight of his last nine starts and has
pitched at least seven innings in four of those games.
Houston, which lost 22 games in August, was 2-3 in his starts during the
Harrell got a no-decision in his most recent outing on Aug. 26, allowing a run
on two hits in seven innings of a 2-1 Astros loss to the New York Mets.
He's 0-1 in three meetings with Cincinnati, including a no-decision July 24.
On Friday, Jay Bruce hit a three-run home run to help Cincinnati to a 9-3 win.
Zack Cozart hit a two-run home run while Brandon Phillips added three hits and
a run scored for the Reds, who have won their past four games.
Mike Leake (7-8) got the win for Cincinnati as he gave up just two runs on
seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts over six innings.
"They made it a little tough on me," Leake said. "I was kind of missing just
off and they were being patient. It was a good plan on their part."
Fernando Martinez and Matt Dominguez each hit a solo home run for the Astros.
Fernando Abad (0-2) gave up six runs on nine hits in just 4 1/3 innings.
The Reds won seven of the first nine games between the teams in 2012,
including a sweep of a three-game series in Houston from July 23-25. The Reds
won the 2011 season series, nine games to six.
09/01 10:31:50 ET