Roy Oswalt hopes to resume his career mastery of the Cincinnati Reds and keep the surging Houston Astros in the thick of the NL wild-card race as they shoot for a three-game sweep at Great American Ball Park.
Oswalt is 9-0 with a 2.28 ERA in 13 appearances, including 11 starts, against the Reds. The nine victories are his most against any opponent.
The right-hander, who turned 27 on Sunday, is 6-1 with a 2.20 ERA over his last eight starts overall, including a 15-7 road win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday. Oswalt allowed six runs and seven hits through eight innings.
It was his fifth straight road victory, making him 8-5 with a 3.82 ERA in 15 starts away from Minute Maid Park this year.
The Astros have won a season-high five straight and eight of nine overall, including Tuesday’s 8-0 triumph that pulled them within three games of the wild card-leading Cubs.
Jeff Kent hit two of Houston’s five homers Tuesday, giving the second baseman five homers in his last eight games. He also has 11 RBIs over that span, batting .353 (12-for-34).
Against the Reds this season, Kent is hitting .383 (18-for-47) with three homers and 13 RBIs.
The Reds, who have been shut out eight times this year, fell a season-high seven games below .500 for the second time this season. They have lost four of their last five.
Cincinnati is expected to activate right-hander Paul Wilson from the disabled list on Wednesday.
The team’s wins leader with nine, Wilson has been out since Aug. 14 with lower back soreness. He threw three 15-pitch “innings” to batters before batting practice on Friday and said he was ready to return.
“It’s never any fun when you sit on the bench and can’t help your teammates win, but there was a good reason why we did it,” Wilson said. “It’s fine now. I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow and get back into action.”
Blog Coverage from SB Nation
- Sad news: Sparky Anderson is being treated for dementia
- Great expectations: Indians eye Series title after '16 run
- Orioles' Machado practices at shortstop for world classic
- Albert Pujols is ramping up recovery from surgery for Angels
- GM Alderson excited about Mets this spring
- Beltran returns to Houston in very different role