Reds hope to get Arroyo back on track

Reds hope to get Arroyo back on track

PHILADELPHIA -- This would be a good place in the season for Bronson Arroyo to snap out of his funk.

"Big time. End the first half on a positive," Reds manager Dusty Baker said about Arroyo.

The Reds are sending Arroyo to face the Mets in Friday's series opener and their first visit to Citi Field. It will be his last start before the All-Star break.

In five starts since June 13, Arroyo is 1-4 with an 8.41 ERA and he has no quality starts in his past three games. On Sunday during a 10-1 loss to the Cardinals, the right-hander gave up eight runs (five earned) on 11 hits over five-plus innings. Arroyo left trailing, 8-0, but stayed in the game longer than Baker would have liked so the Reds could preserve their bullpen.

A big key to the outcome could come as early as the first inning. Arroyo has allowed at least one first-inning run in nine of his 17 starts -- and seven of the last nine. His first-inning ERA is 10.59 and 4.92 after the first.

In his past seven starts vs. the Mets, Arroyo is 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA with two complete games -- both were at Shea Stadium.

Pitching matchup
CIN: RHP Bronson Arroyo (8-8, 5.85 ERA)
Arroyo is 5-2 with a 3.90 ERA lifetime against the Mets. On April 9 during his first start of the season, he was an 8-6 winner after he allowed five earned runs and eight hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out four.

NYM: RHP Fernando Nieve (3-2, 2.73 ERA)
Although he wasn't nearly as effective as he had been in his first three starts with the Mets, Nieve deserved a slightly better fate when he faced the Phillies on Saturday. He was charged with four runs in 5 2/3 innings, but the fourth was unearned and scored after he had been removed. Moreover, Nieve's own inability to execute a sacrifice bunt may have denied the Mets a run -- or not. As it was, Nieve allowed six hits and six walks. Now, he faces a team against which he has pitched five times, once as a starter. He has a convenience store ERA -- 7.11 -- in 6 1/3 innings against the Reds. Only three position players on the Reds' roster have faced Nieve, and they have merely five at-bats against him.

Reds notes
Paul Janish started at shortstop Thursday while Jerry Hairston Jr. was given a break. Baker said that Hairston was expected to start all three games this weekend. ... Joey Votto has a career-high 12 game hitting streak. ... Right-hander Robert Manuel, who turned 26 on Thursday, made his Major League debut. With his parents in attendance, Manuel tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits, striking out two and issuing one walk.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS-O

On radio
• WLW 700

Up next
• Saturday: Reds (Johnny Cueto, 8-5, 3.45) at Mets (Johan Santana, 9-7, 3.29), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Reds (Aaron Harang, 5-8, 3.89) at Mets (Mike Pelfrey, 6-4, 4.52), 1:10 p.m. ET
• Monday-Wednesday: All-Star break

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