Posted August 19, 2012 on
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Mike Leake wasn't too sharp the last time the Cincinnati Reds faced the Philadelphia Phillies, and the result was a historic defeat.
But if Leake has the same stuff as he did in his last start, the result could be a lot different this time.
The NL Central-leading Reds will try to end a six-game losing streak to the Phillies on Monday night in Philadelphia as these teams square off for the first time this season.
The last meeting saw Leake take the loss as he was tagged for four runs in six innings of a 6-4 defeat Sept. 1. That marked the first time the Reds had been swept by Philadelphia in a four-game home series since 1916.
Cincinnati (74-48) has lost 15 of 19 in Philadelphia (56-65), dropping three of four in their last series there May 23-26, 2011.
"That's probably been our toughest spot to play in the last couple of years - or them, period," manager Dusty Baker told the Reds' official website before Sunday's 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Baker's club has won 12 of 16 on the road but is facing a Philadelphia team which has won nine of 13 at home.
The Reds, though, arrive with a comfortable division lead over second-place Pittsburgh and with Leake (5-7, 4.29 ERA) coming off his second complete game of the season.
The right-hander fired a four-hitter in Wednesday's 6-1 victory over the New York Mets. He threw 70 of his 111 pitches for strikes and set down 17 of the last 19 batters he faced.
"Awesome, awesome. He did his job," third baseman Todd Frazier said.
So have Frazier and Ryan Ludwick since Joey Votto went down with an injured left knee.
Frazier is batting .302 with seven homers and 24 RBIs since the 2010 NL MVP last played July 15, while Ludwick is hitting .343 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs during that 24-10 stretch.
Ludwick is hitless in nine at-bats against Roy Halladay (6-7, 3.80), Philadelphia's scheduled starter Monday.
It's been a rough year for Halladay, who is just starting to find his form since returning in mid-July after nearly two months on the disabled list with a strained lat. The two-time Cy Young Award winner is 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA in three August starts, striking out 20 and walking two.
"It's the best I've seen him throw in a little while," Miami manager Ozzie Guillen told the majors' official website after Halladay gave up three runs in six innings of Wednesday's 9-2 loss to the Marlins.
Halladay went 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts versus Cincinnati last season.
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley hit .156 (5 for 32) against Reds pitching in 2012, so manager Charlie Manuel might not be in a rush to put the five-time All-Star back in the lineup after giving him a rest Sunday following 30 consecutive starts.
Backup Michael Martinez went 2 for 5 with a two-run homer in Sunday's 8-0 win over Milwaukee as Philadelphia posted a second straight win following a three-game skid.
Ryan Howard, who raised his batting average from .213 to .246 by going 8 for 18 in the Brewers series, hit a team-best four homers off Reds pitching in 2011.
He is 3 for 8 with a home run versus Leake.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Entering play on Monday, the Redlegs ranked 16th in Major League Baseball and 10th in the National League in average home attendance for 2012. Through 63 games at the friendly confines of Great American Ball Park, the franchise has pulled in an average crowd of 29,477 (1,857,062 overall). Coincidentally, they also ranked 16th and 10th in MLB and the NL, respectively, during...
The Redlegs (74-48) took care of business over the weekend and managed to take three out of four against The Lovable Losers from Chicago. By doing so, they were able to stretch their division lead to 6.5 games -- the largest for any first place team in baseball.
Here are some notable quotes from the series:
Friday (Win, 7-3)
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Dusty Baker breaks down the 5-3 victory over the Cubs in game one of the double dip on Saturday.
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MILWAUKEE When Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in December2010, putting the finishing brush strokes on a piece de resistance of a pitching rotation, the baseball world took notice.
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Xavier Paul led off the ninth inning with a pinch-hit triple and Ryan Hanigan followed with a single Sunday, giving the Cincinnati Reds a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs.
Paul lined the first pitch from Shawn Camp (3-6) over first base into the right-field corner. Hanigan hit the next pitch to left-center over the drawn-in Chicago outfield.
The NL Central-leading Reds took three...
8/20 Game Review
Louisville lost 10-1. Box Score
Neftali Soto went 1-3.
Denis Phipps went 1-3 with a solo HR (14).
Cody Puckett went 1-3 with a double.
Carlos Fisher threw 2 shutout innings with a walk and 2 strikeouts.
Jordan Smith threw a shutout inning with 2 strikeouts.
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8/18 Game Review
Louisville won 3-2 in 10 innings. Box Score
Neftali Soto went 3-4 with a run.
Denis Phipps went 3-4 with 2 doubles, a HR (11), 2 RBI and 2 runs.
Felix Perez went 2-4.
Pedro Villarreal allowed 2 runs in 7 innings with a walk and 8 strikeouts.
Nick Masset (rehab) threw a perfect inning with a strikeout.
Jordan Smith threw 2 shutout innings with a strikeout.
When Hector Luna was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh after yesterday's 8-0 win over the Brewers, we all knew that Placido Polanco would be back with the team tonight.
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Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs…
RHP Jonathan Pettibone (pictured, right...
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Brett Jackson hit his first career home run to help Brooks Raley earn his first major league win, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 9-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds and a split of their day-night doubleheader on Saturday.
Starlin Castro had three hits and two RBIs as the Cubs rebounded after losing the first two in the four-game weekend series. David DeJesus added...
Vance Worley has another bad start as the Phils lose once again to the Brew Crew, 6-2.
The Phils took the lead in the fourth as, with a runner on second, and with nobody out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI double, knocking in Chase Utley, who had started the inning off with a ground-rule double, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Brewers took the lead in their half of the fourth as, with...
Final: Phillies 4, Brewers 3.
WP: Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.94 ERA) LP: Mike Fiers (6-6, 2.90 ERA) SV: Jonathan Papelbon (27)
Cole Hamels had another stellar start tonight in Milwaukee, despite giving up a late two-run home run to Ryan Braun that pulled the Brewers to within one run late in the game. He lasted seven and two-thirds innings, allowing eight hits, one walk, and three...