The Reds look to complete a three-game sweep of the NL Central-leading Astros as the teams conclude their series at Minute Maid Park.
Despite numerous trades and injuries, which has left Cincinnati with just 10 players from its opening day roster, the Reds have won four of the last five meetings with the Astros.
“We’ve gone through a lot of trades but we still have 25 big league players here and we have to be professional and do our jobs,” Wilson said. “It’s a weird game. I’ve never figured it out and probably never will.”
The Astros lost for the eighth time in 11 games and fell into a tie for first with St. Louis, which beat Philadelphia 5-3 on Saturday.
Houston had just five hits and produced seven baserunners in the loss. Only Richard Hidalgo advanced past second base, scoring on Brad Ausmus’ seventh-inning single. The top of the Astros’ order—Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman, Jeff Bagwell and Jeff Kent—were a combined 0-for-16.
Yet, Bagwell remains undaunted.
“I’m past the point of being alarmed,” Bagwell said. “We have to find a way to get better.”
STANDINGS: Reds - 5th place, 8 1/2 GB, NL Central. Astros - 1st place, NL Central.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: John Bale (0-1, 2.41 ERA). Bale was promoted from Triple-A Louisville to help fill the holes in Cincinnati’s pitching staff after the Reds traded away many of their arms at the July 31 trade deadline. Despite striking out six and walking none Tuesday, the 29-year-old left-hander suffered a loss, allowing four runs and six hits over seven innings in a 6-1 defeat at Arizona. He will be making his first career start against the Astros.
ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Jeriome Robertson (11-6, 5.16 ERA). Robertson is 1-3 with an 8.53 ERA over his last five starts. The 26-year-old left-hander was reached for five runs and five hits, including two homers, in just three innings in the Astros’ 12-8 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. Robertson is 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three career starts against the Reds.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Reds - Sean Casey, .292 avg. and 65 RBIs; Adam Dunn, 27 HRs and 70 runs; Dunn and Felipe Lopez, 8 SBs. Astros - Hidalgo, .304 avg.; Bagwell, 28 HRs and 84 runs; Berkman, 76 RBIs; Bagwell and Adam Everett, 6 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Astros, 11-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Reds - Cincinnati has used 47 players this season—four shy of the club record. … The Reds have committed a major league-high 113 errors this season. … SS Barry Larkin, who sprained his right ring finger Friday, was placed on the 15-day DL Saturday—his third trip to the DL this season. Astros - LHP Robertson is one win shy of tying LHP Jim Deshaies’ single-season club record for a rookie left-hander. … OF Hidalgo is hitting .303 (71-for-234) with 19 doubles, 14 homers, 40 RBIs and 35 runs scored since being activated from the DL on June 7. … 1B Bagwell needs two homers to become the 13th player in major league history to hit 30 in at least eight consecutive seasons.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Reds - 28-36 on the road; Astros - 38-26 at home.
INJURIES: Reds - SS Larkin (finger), 15-day DL; INF Brandon Larson (shoulder), 15-day DL; OF Russell Branyan (ankle), 15-day DL; OF Dunn (thumb), 15-day DL; RHP Jose Acevedo (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Ryan Dempster (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Jimmy Haynes (back), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Ken Griffey Jr. (ankle), 60-day DL; OF Austin Kearns (shoulder), 60-day DL. Astros - LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Roy Oswalt (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Rosario (shoulder), 60-day DL.