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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, June 16th (All times Eastern)

Cincinnati Reds (36-27) at New York Mets (35-30), 7:15 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Homer Bailey (4-4, 4.35) New York - Jonathon Niese (4-2, 3.69)

(Sports Network) - Jonathon Niese heads into tonight's start for the Mets on a shutout streak ... sort of.

The southpaw, who will take the mound in the middle test of a three-game series against the NL Central-leading Reds, has fanned 16 and walked just two over his last two outings. He hasn't allowed an earned run in either appearance - a 6-1 win against the Cardinals on June 3 and a no-decision on Sunday vs. the Yankees. Niese gave up two unearned runs in the Subway Series contest.

Niese is 2-0 over his last four starts and starts a 1-1 mark with a 5.79 ERA in three lifetime games when facing the Reds.

Homer Bailey would've had his fourth win in a five-start span, if not for Cincinnati's bullpen blunders late in a 7-6 loss to the Tigers on Sunday night. The right-hander, who gets the start tonight, didn't get a decision in his most recent appearance.

He departed leading 6-2, but was charged with a run on Prince Fielder's single off Sean Marshall. In the eighth inning, the Tigers took the lead with four runs scored - two each off Logan Ondrusek and Aroldis Chapman.

Bailey, who put together a three-game winning streak from May 19-29, is 0-1 with a 13.00 ERA in two games against the Mets.

Last night, Wilson Valdez drove in three runs as Cincinnati took a 7-3 win. Brandon Phillips hit a two-run home run while Jay Bruce had an inside-the-park homer for the Reds, who have won four straight.

Bronson Arroyo (3-4) won for the first time since May 7 as he gave up just three runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts over six-plus innings. He had been 0-3 in his previous six starts.

"The pitching staff had been pretty consistent since the first day and our defense has been great," said Arroyo. "The only thing that you can attribute to our losses is scoring a few more runs. And know we're playing teams that are playing good and still finding ways to win, so that's a good sign for us."

Dillon Gee (4-5) was touched for four runs -- three earned -- on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts over six innings of work for the Mets, who had a three-game winning streak stopped. Scott Hairston hit a two-run home run in the loss.

The second inning saw the Reds plate two men to grab the lead. Bruce led off the frame with a fly ball to left field. Jason Bay tried to track down the ball, but it landed just out of his reach as he dove and crashed into the wall, allowing Bruce to come all the way home. Bay left the game and was replaced by Hairston, who committed an error two batters later when he misplayed a Ryan Ludwick double that saw Todd Frazier, who had singled prior to Ludwick, come home.

"He was dizzy. I asked him what he did and he said he hit his head," said New York manager Terry Collins about Bay. "I asked him if he was dizzy and he said yes so I told him he was done. He wanted to try and go back out there and I told him no, not with the past."

The Mets said during the game that Bay possibly suffered a concussion on the play. He had a concussion in 2010, his first season with the Mets.

New York and Cincinnati split a pair of games at Citi Field this season from May 16-17. The Mets are 7-3 in the previous 10 matchups between the clubs.

06/16 10:54:42 ET