Their top two hitters are on the shelf with injuries, but the Cincinnati Reds just keep winning – 12 of their last 13 and 19 of 22, to be exact – as they take the majors’ best record at 63-41 into the finale of a four-game series against visiting San Diego Padres. Even with first baseman Joey Votto (knee) on the disabled list and second baseman Brandon Phillips nursing a strained calf, the Reds keep rolling in large part because of a pitching staff that ranks second in the National League with a 3.37 ERA.
Ace Johnny Cueto has led a solid starting rotation and takes the mound for the series finale against Ross Ohlendorf. Cueto is riding a four-start win streak that began when he beat the Padres on July 8 in San Diego. The offense hasn’t suffered without the two stars, though; hitting 14 home runs in the past five games, including seven in the first three games of this series. The Padres have lost four of five.
Padres Reds Betting
When: 12:35 PM ET, Thursday, August 2, 2012
Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: 12:35 p.m. ET, Fox Sports San Diego
PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres RH Ross Ohlendorf (3-1, 5.05 ERA) vs. Reds RH Johnny Cueto (13-5, 2.39)
Ohlendorf suffered his first loss of the season Saturday at Miami despite posting his third straight quality start. He allowed three runs on four hits over six innings but gave up his first home run since June 25. Ohlendorf is 1-3 with a 4.40 ERA in seven games (five starts) against the Reds. He gave up one run in one inning of relief against them last month.
Cueto already has set a career high for wins after winning his last four starts, and he has legitimate Cy Young Award aspirations. The 26-year-old was not at his sharpest Saturday at Colorado, giving up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits in six innings, but picked up the win in a 9-7 victory. Cueto is 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts against the Padres, but he held them to two runs over 5 2/3 innings last month.
1. The Reds have hit at least two home runs in five straight games, the first time they’ve done so since Aug. 22-26, 2007.
2. San Diego’s Chase Headley and Will Venable, who have combined for 10 RBIs in the series, have hit Cueto well. Headley is 5-for-11 (.455) against him, and Venable is 4-for-5 with two homers.
3. Reds closer Aroldis Chapman has converted 15 consecutive save chances.