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News » Reds-Astros Preview 2009-04-19

Reds-Astros Preview 2009-04-19

Reds-Astros Preview 2009-04-19
The Cincinnati Reds were worried about Bronson Arroyo's effectiveness after an injury to his throwing arm in spring training. He is quickly putting to rest any indication that it's bothering him.

The right-hander looks to open a season with three consecutive victories for the first time in his career when he takes the ball for the Reds in the finale of a four-game road series against the Houston Astros on Monday night.

Arroyo (2-0, 4.38 ERA) was bothered by a flare-up of carpal tunnel syndrome during spring training and didn't look particularly sharp in winning his first outing over the New York Mets on April 9. On Tuesday, though, he gave up one run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings of Cincinnati's 6-1 victory over Milwaukee to open with back-to-back wins for the first time since 2006.

"My arm felt good. My hand felt good," Arroyo told the Reds' official Web site. "I felt like I had at least the same fastball in the seventh inning as I had the first. Last time out, I definitely did not have that."

Arroyo had a 9.00 ERA in losing his first three starts against the Astros (4-8) in 2008, but in his last start against them Aug. 26, the he allowed five hits in a complete-game, 2-1 win at Minute Maid Park.

He would appear to have a good chance for more success against Houston's offense, which has been abysmal this season, scoring a major-league low 36 runs.

The Astros went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position in Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Reds, their fourth defeat in six games at Minute Maid Park.

Cincinnati's offense isn't much better than Houston's.

The Reds (6-5) rank last in the majors in batting average (.210) and their biggest hit Sunday came from pitcher Micah Owings, who delivered a pinch-hit, two-run double in the seventh inning. Owings, who won the 2007 NL Silver Slugger award for pitchers, is 2-for-3 as a pinch hitter this season.

"Anytime I can get in the box, I love it," said Owings, who is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs. "I just like the opportunity."

Cincinnati's offense looks to get on track against Mike Hampton (1-1, 2.45), who is coming off an impressive outing.

Following four injury-plagued seasons in Atlanta, Hampton in his last start looked like the pitcher that went 22-4 for Houston in 1999. The left-hander gave up four hits and one walk with eight strikeouts in six scoreless innings of Wednesday's 4-1 win over Pittsburgh - his first win with the Astros since Oct. 3, 1999.

Houston was still playing at the Astrodome when Hampton last pitched for the Astros. Monday will mark his home debut at Minute Maid Park, where he went 1-1 with a 5.52 ERA in five starts as a visitor.

Hampton has not faced the Reds since 2003, and has not beaten them since 2002, when he was with Colorado. He is 6-5 with a 3.96 ERA in 18 career starts versus Cincinnati.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 20, 2009

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