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Cincinnati Reds vs. Texas Rangers: Series Preview, Notes and Analysis

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 23: Brandon Phillips #4 of the Cincinnati Reds and teammate Zach Cozart #2 celebrate Phillip's home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 23, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images
Kyle KauffungContributor IIIJune 28, 2013

The Cincinnati Reds (45-34, third in NL Central) are set to take on the Texas Rangers (46-33, first in AL West) in the final three games of an eight-game road trip starting Friday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The Reds are 1-4 on their current road trip and will be looking for a sweep to make it an easier to stomach 4-4 trek out west and back.

Cincinnati is 4-6 in its last 10 games and, with Wednesday’s 5-0 loss at the Oakland Athletics, enters the weekend series against Texas with a losing road record at 19-20.

The Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10 games and are 22-15 at home this season.

 

Pitching

Friday, June 28 at 8:05 p.m. ET

Johnny Cueto (4-1, 3.21 ERA) made three starts in April to begin the season before being placed on the disabled list with a strained right lat muscle. He returned and made three starts in May before being placed on the DL again for the same injury. This will be his third start since returning in mid-June, and here’s to hoping he doesn’t land on the DL again after his third start in a month.

He is 1-1 in June and had a rough time of it his last time out, giving up 11 hits and seven earned runs in four and one-third innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday.

As reported by Mark Sheldon for MLB.com, the Reds will be keeping an eye on the situation.

Cueto is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his seven starts this season. The club is resigned to the notion it will have to watch him closely and hold its breath to make sure he comes out of each start healthy.

‘Probably for a while, yeah,’ Baker said. ‘At least we know what the situation is and the signs. You're going to be concerned, for the lack of a better word, probably now until the end of the season.’

 

Saturday, June 29 at 7:15 p.m. ET

Mike Leake (7-3, 2.61 ERA) had a perfect game through 5 and two-thirds innings against the Diamondbacks Saturday before giving up a single and a two-run home run. He ended up pitching eight innings, giving up four hits and two earned runs in a game Cincinnati lost in walk-off fashion.

According to MLB.com, Leake is 5-1 with a 1.31 ERA in his last eight starts.

 

Sunday, June 30 at 3:05 p.m. ET

Mat Latos (7-1, 3.05 ERA) had 13 strikeouts in seven and two-thirds innings against the D-backs Sunday, tying his career high. He is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 18 and two-thirds innings in his last three starts.

 

Things to Watch on Offense

Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo still lead the majors in walks with 58 and 54, respectively. They are second and third in the majors in on-base percentage at .437 and .419, respectively.

Votto is tied for third in the NL in hits (95) and is fourth in runs scored (55) and sixth in batting average (.322).

Brandon Phillips leads the Reds and is third in the NL in RBI with 60.

Jay Bruce leads Cincinnati and is tied for fifth in the NL in home runs with 18. He is also tied for second in doubles with 24.

 

All stats courtesy of MLB.com

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