National League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, July 24th
(All times Eastern)
Cincinnati Reds (56-40) at Houston Astros (34-63), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Mike Leake (3-6, 4.25)
Houston - Lucas Harrell (7-7, 4.24)
(Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Reds will try to add to their division lead
for the second straight night when they visit Minute Maid Park Tuesday for the
second of three games with the Houston Astros.
The Reds stretched their edge in the National League Central from a half-game
to 1 1/2 on Monday, after Mat Latos tossed five strong innings and was backed
by 17 hits in an 8-3 victory.
Latos (8-3) allowed just two runs on eight hits and two walks over five frames
to earn the win, while Todd Frazier and Ryan Ludwick each registered three
hits, two RBI and two runs scored to help the Reds earn their fifth straight
Second-place Pittsburgh lost to the Chicago Cubs, 2-0, on Monday.
Houston's Wandy Rodriguez (7-9) absorbed Monday's loss after giving up three
runs on seven hits and three walks with six strikeouts over six innings.
The Astros' Chris Johnson tied a career-high with four base hits, but Houston
dropped its seventh straight game and has lost 20 of its last 22 contests.
"We're trying not to believe in personal goals around here, just trying to
turn this thing around," Johnson said. "I'd rather take an 0-for and a win."
The Reds start right-hander Mike Leake, who's not won in three starts since
late June, on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old Californian tossed a complete game and allowed a run in a 5-1
defeat of San Francisco on June 29, but is 0-1 in three starts since -
including a pair of no-decisions since the All-Star break.
He's allowed 18 hits and eight runs in 11 1/3 innings in the post-break
starts, though the Reds have won both games against St. Louis and Arizona.
Leake defeated Houston on June 1 after going seven innings and allowing four
hits with seven strikeouts. He's 3-4 in nine career meetings against the
Houston counters with fellow right-hander Lucas Harrell, who faces the Reds
for the third time in his 37th major-league appearance.
The 27-year-old made nine appearances (2 starts) while splitting 2011 between
Houston and the Chicago White Sox, but has been exclusively a starter for the
Astros this season.
He faced the Reds in Cincinnati in his fifth start of the season on April 28
and dropped a 6-0 verdict after being touched for five earned runs on nine
hits in six innings.
Harrell hasn't won since June 27, including a loss and a no-decision in two
tough-luck outings since the All-Star break in which he's given up only two
runs and nine hits in 12 innings. The Astros lost both games while being
outscored by a 4-2 margin.
The Reds have won five of seven games against the Astros in 2012, including
two of three in Cincinnati in April and two of three in Houston in June.
Houston last won the season series in 2008.
07/24 11:09:35 ET
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