Cincinnati (66-89) at Philadelphia (85-70)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 89° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Sep 21, 2003
  • TV: WPSG
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Philadelphia Phillies look to keep pace in the NL wild-card race as they close a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds in the finale of their weekend series at Veterans Stadium.

Philadelphia’s 2-0 loss Saturday dropped it a half-game behind Florida in the wild-card race. The Marlins blew a four-run, eighth-inning lead against Atlanta, but rallied to win 6-5 in 11 innings.

“We’re not worried,” Phillies center fielder Marlon Byrd said. “We have to finish up strong with a win, then go to Florida and win the series.”

The Phillies can ill-afford to look past the Reds, despite Cincinnati’s standing as the fourth-worst team in the league. The Reds have split the eight meetings with the Phillies this season.

“These games are big for the guys that are playing in them,” Reds first baseman Sean Casey said. “We’re here to win baseball games, too.”

Cincinnati is one defeat away from losing 90 games for the 14th time in club history, and just the fourth time since 1949.

STANDINGS: Reds - 5th place, 18 1/2 GB, NL Central. Phillies - 3rd place, 11 GB, NL East.

REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Aaron Harang (4-2, 4.75 ERA). In his last start, Harang, who hadn’t pitched since straining his lower back Sept. 5, scattered four hits over five innings of a 12-6 win at Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. He faced—and lost to—the Phillies for the only time in his career back on June 8 at Veterans Stadium, allowing five runs and four hits over just three innings of an 8-3 defeat.

PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Vicente Padilla (14-10, 3.55 ERA). In his last start, Padilla gave up five hits in eight innings as the Phillies routed the Marlins 14-0 on Tuesday night. Padilla has made nine career appearances—one start—against the Reds, going 2-1 with a 1.56 ERA.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Reds - Casey, .290 avg. and 73 RBIs; Adam Dunn, 27 HRs and 70 runs; Ryan Freel, 9 SBs . Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .322 avg.; Jim Thome, 43 HRs, 123 RBIs and 105 runs; Bobby Abreu, 22 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 4-4.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Reds - Right-handed batters are hitting .306 against RHP Harang this season. … C Jason LaRue was hit by a pitch for the 20th time this season in Saturday’s fourth inning, equaling Frank Robinson’s 1956 club record. … The Reds used a different lineup for 31 straight games. Phillies - Right-handed batters are hitting just .237 against RHP Padilla this season. … On Sunday, Padilla will try to become the Phillies’ second 15-game winner, joining Randy Wolf, who has 16 victories. … LF Pat Burrell didn’t start for the second time in three games on Saturday. OF Ricky Ledee took Burrell’s spot, as Burrell was hitless in his previous nine at-bats and is hitting just .210.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Reds - 33-47 on the road; Phillies - 48-29 at home.

INJURIES: Reds - SS Barry Larkin (finger), 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), 60-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Mark Watson (kidney), 60-day DL; 3B Brandon Larson (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Ken Griffey Jr. (ankle), 60-day DL; OF Austin Kearns (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Reggie Taylor (shoulder), 60-day DL. Phillies - 3B David Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Harang Phi vs. V. Padilla Bos
5-6 Record 14-12
5.31 ERA 3.62
42 K 133
19 BB 62
1.41 WHIP 1.24