The blazing-hot Cincinnati Reds hope to feast on the downtrodden Houston Astros when the National League Central rivals begin their three-game series at Minute Maid Park. Cincinnati, which leads Pittsburgh by one-half game in the division, is coming off a three-game sweep of Milwaukee that completed an 8-2 homestand. The Reds have won four straight and 11 of their last 13.
Cincinnati, which is a season-high 15 games over .500 (55-40), is facing a Houston team that was outscored 33-13 while being swept in a three-game set in Arizona. The Astros, who are a major league-worst 34-62, have lost six consecutive games, 10 of 11 and 19 of 21. They return home following a 1-9 road trip.
Reds Astros Betting
When: 8:05 PM ET, Monday, July 23, 2012
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, FSN (Cincinnati, Houston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Mat Latos (7-3, 4.33 ERA) vs. Astros LH Wandy Rodriguez (7-8, 3.75)
Latos is coming off his first loss since April 18, a setback to Arizona on Wednesday in which he surrendered five runs over 4 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old had allowed a total of four runs in 30 frames over his previous four outings. Latos, who is 3-1 in six career starts against the Astros, yielded seven runs – four earned – over 3 1/3 innings in a no-decision at Houston on June 2.
Rodriguez has lost four of his last five decisions, including a defeat at San Diego on Wednesday in which he allowed five runs over four innings. The 33-year-old Dominican has surrendered three or more runs in four of his last five outings. Rodriguez’s career record against Cincinnati remained at 8-9 after a no-decision on June 2 in which he gave up nine runs – seven earned – over five innings.
1. Cincinnati’s win over Milwaukee on Sunday was the first contest at Great American Ball Park without a home run since July 29, 2011, ending a 74-game streak.
2. Of the last 34 outs recorded by Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman, 27 have been strikeouts.
3. Houston 2B Jose Altuve has registered back-to-back two-hit performances after going 0-for-12 over his previous three games.