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.
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.
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.
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Official game notes
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