They probably didn’t expect the offensive surge the pitcher has provided.
Arroyo looks to become the first pitcher in 33 years to homer in three consecutive starts as he seeks his third win of the season when the Reds (7-4) wrap up their three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals (6-5) on Sunday at the new Busch Stadium.
Arroyo surprised everyone when he homered off Glendon Rusch in an 8-6 win over the Chicago Cubs on April 5, then repeated the feat six days later against Rusch when he hit a ball out of Wrigley Field in a 9-2 win.
“I really just couldn’t believe where the pitch was. It was almost identical to last time,” Arroyo said Tuesday. “I thought he was going to throw me away and it was still kind of middle-in a little bit. I was just surprised.
“Unfortunately for me, I might not see any more fastballs. You’ll see about 35 punch outs in the next 35 at-bats.”
Ken Brett homered in four straight starts for Philadelphia from June 9-23, 1973.
Arroyo has a 1.98 ERA to go along with his two wins this season. The 29-year-old right-hander, though, is 0-2 with an 8.15 ERA in seven games against the Cardinals.
In two appearances in the 2004 World Series while pitching with Boston, Arroyo allowed four hits and two runs in 2 2-3 innings against St. Louis.
Arroyo spent the first three seasons of his career with Pittsburgh, and had only four hits and two runs scored in 48 at-bats. In four at-bats this season, he has two hits, two runs and two RBIs.
The last Reds pitcher to hit three homers in one season was Tom Seaver in 1977, and the team record is four by Hal Jeffcoat in 1957.
The Cardinals will counter Sunday with Mark Mulder, who provided some offense of his own in earning the first victory in new Busch Stadium last Monday. Mulder hit his first career home run and added a double while pitching eight innings in a 6-4 victory over Milwaukee.
Mulder is 4-2 with a 3.89 ERA in seven starts against the Reds.
St. Louis has gone 3-2 on its six-game homestand to open the new stadium. After Cincinnati won 1-0 in the opener of this series on Friday, the Cardinals came back with a 9-3 victory on Saturday. Albert Pujols hit his fifth home run of the season and Sidney Ponson won his first game as a Cardinal.
St. Louis center fielder Jim Edmonds sat out after receiving a cortisone shot for his injured shoulder. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said there is less than a 50 percent chance he will play on Sunday.
“It takes a lot of pounding and it gets sore from time to time,” Edmonds said. “Whether the cortisone shot allows me to play the next day or not, we’ll see.”
The Reds played without center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. for the third straight game because of stiffness in his right knee.
“It would be nice to have Griffey back in the lineup,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “We definitely miss him.”