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News » Reds-Braves Preview 2009-09-04


Reds-Braves Preview 2009-09-04


Reds-Braves Preview 2009-09-04
Coming off a losing road trip against a pair of division rivals, the Atlanta Braves could get a boost when they return home to face one of the NL's weaker clubs.

The Braves could activate center fielder Nate McLouth from the disabled list and have him in the lineup Friday night when they face the Cincinnati Reds.

Though McLouth is batting .258 and hasn't played since straining his left hamstring against Philadelphia on Aug. 15, he could provide a spark for Atlanta (70-64), which is four games behind Colorado in the wild-card standings.

McLouth is batting .324 with two homers and eight RBIs against Cincinnati this season. If ready, he'll try to help the Braves avoid a third straight loss after falling 8-3 to Florida on Thursday.

"It's one of those things where hamstrings are funny in how they respond and how quickly the guy becomes pain-free and tightness-free," general manager Frank Wren told the Braves' official Web site.

The Braves dropped the final two in the four-game set against the Marlins to split the series after losing two of three at NL East-leading Philadelphia to open the trip.

Atlanta begins a brief three-game homestand against Cincinnati (60-73), which has won nine of 11 and is coming off a four-game sweep of last-place Pittsburgh.

The teams have split six games against each other this season, all played in Cincinnati.

Brian McCann hit his 18th homer Thursday for the Braves. The catcher is 4 for 9 with two homers against Cincinnati's scheduled starter Bronson Arroyo (11-12, 4.35 ERA).

Chipper Jones, who has four RBIs in his last two games, is batting .375 against the Reds this season and 11 for 23 with three homers lifetime against Arroyo, who looks to avoid a third straight loss to Atlanta.

Though Arroyo is 4-3 with a 6.40 ERA in 10 career starts against the Braves, he's posted a 20.57 ERA in losing his last two. He gave up nine runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 10-2 loss to Atlanta on April 25.

In his last start, the right-hander allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings of Sunday's 3-2, 12-inning loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Atlanta counters with Derek Lowe (13-8, 4.38 ERA), who's one win shy of matching his victory total from last year while with the Dodgers.

Lowe, who allowed one run in 5 2-3 innings to earn the victory in a 9-1 win at Philadelphia on Saturday, is 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA as a starter against Cincinnati.

The right-hander gave up two runs and struck out eight in seven innings to earn the win against Arroyo and Reds on April 25.

Brandon Phillips is 0 for 9 against Lowe, but homered and drove in three runs during Cincinnati's 5-3 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Phillips is batting .404 with two home runs and nine RBIs in his last 11 games, with the Reds averaging 5.4 runs during that span.

"I think we're all playing as a team," Wednesday's winning pitcher Homer Bailey told the Reds' official Web site. "We're all feeding off of one another. I think the team chemistry that's been going on has helped a lot."

Cincinnati rookie center fielder Drew Stubbs had three hits and homered for the third time in four games Wednesday.

The Reds are looking for a season-high fifth consecutive road victory.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 4, 2009

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