Reds ready for last stand

Final series for Reds and Busch Stadium

It'll be the last dance at Busch Stadium and the last dance for the Reds in '05.

Well, OK, it's really only the last regular-season series at Busch. But for the Reds, it's the end just the same.

They will come into St. Louis looking to put a positive finish on what was, on the whole, a disappointing year. But they'll do so with some managerial stability now that Jerry Narron has signed a contract through the 2006 season.

Left-hander Randy Keisler will get the starting nod in the series opener Friday night.

The newest member of the rotation, Keisler has displayed a pattern over his first three starts. He's lasted just five innings in each. Keisler's last outing saw him give up four runs on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts over five innings. It made for his first loss of the season.

Pitching matchup:
CIN: LHP Randy Keisler
• 2-1, 5.98 ERA in 2005
• 0-0, 0.00 ERA vs. STL in 2005

STL: LHP Mark Mulder
• 16-8, 3.72 ERA in 2005
• 2-2, 5.64 ERA vs. CIN in 2005

Player to watch
Rich Aurilia. He's provided a clutch bat for the Reds all season, but he hasn't been all that clutch in his career against Mulder. Aurilia has just five hits in 27 at-bats against him.

"I've enjoyed the last couple months. I think the guys have played hard, and that's made it very easy " -- Narron, who had the interim tag removed from his managerial title Thursday

On the Internet
Gameday Audio
• Gameday
• Official game notes

On television

On radio
• CIN: WLW 700
• STL: KMOX 1120

Quick hits
Javier Valentin made his first career start in the cleanup spot Thursday. ... Eric Milton will finish the season with 999 career strikeouts. ... The Reds have dropped three of their last four games.

On deck
• Saturday: at Cardinals, 4:15 p.m. ET
• Sunday: at Cardinals, 2:15 p.m. ET

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.