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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, August 23rd (All times Eastern)

Cincinnati Reds (76-49) at Philadelphia Phillies (57-67), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Johnny Cueto (16-6, 2.44) Philadelphia - Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.94)

(Sports Network) - Staff aces Johnny Cueto and Cole Hamels get together tonight in the finale of a four-game series when the Cincinnati Reds visit the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Cincinnati right-hander Cueto starts against the Phillies for the sixth time in his career after winning once in three decisions through the initial five meetings - during which he posted a 5.65 earned run average.

The 26-year-old Dominican, whose win total has veered from nine to 11 to 12 to nine through his first four seasons, picked up his career-high 16th in his most recent start on Aug. 18 against the Chicago Cubs.

Cueto was 9-5 after a brief two-start skid on June 28 and July 3, but is 7-1 in eight subsequent starts while pitching at least seven innings in five of the eight outings and allowing two runs or less five times.

He's 7-5 in 14 road starts in 2012 with a 2.59 ERA.

The Phillies go with lefty Hamels, who'll face the Reds for the 10th time in his career with an unbeaten 7-0 mark on the line.

The 28-year-old California native has put up a stingy 1.44 ERA in 62 2/3 innings against Cincinnati while surrendering just 35 hits and striking out 53.

Reds batters have combined for just a .164 batting average.

Overall, Hamels has won three straight starts since his last loss on Aug. 2, downing Atlanta, Miami and Milwaukee while allowing three runs on 20 hits in 25 2/3 innings.

The defeats of the Braves and Marlins, in fact, were shutouts.

On Wednesday, Jay Bruce's leadoff home run in the eighth proved to be the difference as the Reds clipped the Phillies, 3-2.

Drew Stubbs and Ryan Ludwick drove in a run each for the Reds, who have won seven of their last 10.

Bronson Arroyo (10-7) worked into the ninth, picking up the win after scattering three hits and two runs while fanning four.

"I was hitting my spots, both sides of the plate," Arroyo said. "I can't complain about anything. My breaking ball, sinker were both there."

Domonic Brown doubled and homered for the Phillies, who have lost two in a row since winning Monday's series opener.

Vance Worley (6-9) served up eight hits and a pair of runs over six full frames in defeat.

The Phillies won seven of eight games between the teams in 2011 and haven't lost the season series to the Reds since 2003.

08/23 10:33:49 ET