Cincinnati (27-20) at Washington (15-31)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Montreal, QC
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri May 28, 2004
  • TV: FSOH, RDS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Corey Lidle will try to build on his best effort of the season as the Cincinnati Reds open a three-game series with the Montreal Expos.

After a season-high seven game winning streak, Cincinnati has dropped two straight, including a 5-2 loss to Florida on Thursday. The Reds are hoping Lidle can help get them back on track.

Against Houston on Sunday, the veteran right-hander pitched a six hitter in a 7-0 win for his third career shutout. Lidle has yet to post back-to-back wins this season, and had lost three straight starts before shutting down the Astros.

Lidle credited Hall of Fame Reds catcher Johnny Bench for his turnaround.

“I told him I thought I was throwing the ball pretty good, but things weren’t going my way,” Lidle said. “It was frustrating. He told me that I had to just wipe that out. It’s just getting into the right frame of mind.”

Lidle’s had success against the Expos, going 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in four career appearances, including one start.

Montreal is coming off a 6-1 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday, its sixth defeat in seven games. The Expos dropped to an NL-worst 15-31.

Slumping shortstop Orlando Cabrera has not started the last two games, but pinch-hit in Wednesday’s loss, keeping his consecutive games streak intact at 213. Cabrera is hitting just .235 with a home run and eight RBIs in May.

“He’s pressing a little bit right now, trying to hit the ball too hard,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “I’m happy with his play, but he looks like he’s struggling a little bit.”

Conversely, center fielder Endy Chavez is playing his way into a regular role.

Chavez, whose playing time may be affected when first baseman Nick Johnson comes off the disabled list in a few days, moving Brad Wilkerson back into the outfield, is 14-for-28 (.500) in his last six games.

“As long as he keeps swinging the bat and doing the things he is doing right now, he is the everyday center fielder,” Robinson said. “He will get a break once in a while because he will get tired also.”

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C. Lidle NYY vs. C. Vargas Col
12-12 Record 5-5
4.90 ERA 5.25
126 K 89
61 BB 64
1.35 WHIP 1.55