Philadelphia (21-15) at Cincinnati (23-14)

Cloudy Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 32° F
  • Game info: 1:15 pm EDT Sun May 14, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Cincinnati Reds are one of the top-hitting home baseball teams this season, but have been stymied by the Philadelphia Phillies pitchers.

The Reds look to break out of their recent hitting funk and avoid being swept at home for the first time this season Sunday when they close their three-game series with the Phillies.

After smashing 25 hits in their final two games against Washington, the Reds (23-14) have just seven hits in two losses to Philadelphia (21-15).

Phillies pitcher Jon Lieber took a perfect game into the seventh and gave up two hits in 8 2-3 innings as the Reds managed just three hits in Saturday’s 2-0 loss.

“We couldn’t get anything going early,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “We haven’t been able to for the last few games, and when you face a pitcher like Lieber, it’s tough.”

The Reds are batting .286 at Great American Ball Park and have at least 10 hits in 12 of their 19 home games—compared to batting .233 with just five 10-hit efforts in 18 road games—but are batting .113 (7-for-62) against Philadelphia.

The Phillies handed Cincinnati its first back-to-back losses at home this season, and the loss guaranteed the Reds their first losing series at home in seven series this season.

Cincinnati has not been swept at home since May 2-4, 2005, against St. Louis, and is in danger of getting its fewest hits in a three-game series since Great American Ball Park opened in 2003. The Reds had only 14 hits in a three-game series against Florida in May 2004.

While Cincinnati’s offense is sputtering, Philadelphia has two shutouts in its last three games.

The Phillies have won 12 of their last 13 games, closing within 1 1/2 games of the NL East division-leading New York Mets.

Brett Myers will start for Philadelphia, hoping to continue his recent strong run. Myers (2-1, 2.96 ERA) has pitched seven or more innings in four of his last five starts, posting a 2.27 ERA in those games.

The right-hander allowed just two runs and five hits in eight innings in Philadelphia’s 5-4 win over New York on Tuesday, but did not receive a decision. Myers has not allowed more than three runs in any of his seven starts, but has not won a game since April 23.

The Phillies have not had consecutive shutouts since defeating San Francisco and Los Angeles on April 27-28, 2003. They have not swept the Reds at Cincinnati in a three-game series since Sept. 21-22, 2002.

The 25-year-old is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA in three career starts against Cincinnati.

Reds left fielder Adam Dunn broke up Lieber’s perfect game with a single, and has one homer in five at-bats against Myers.

Shortstop Felipe Lopez extended his hitting streak to eight games, and is batting .515 (17-for-33) with two doubles, nine runs and six stolen bases during the streak.

Brandon Claussen will try to end a personal two-game losing streak for the Reds.

Claussen (2-4, 5.79 ERA) allowed four runs and a career-high 11 hits, including three home runs in a 7-1 loss to Washington on Tuesday. He has given up nine home runs on the season, the second most in the NL by a left-hander.

Claussen allowed one earned run in five innings in his only start against the Phillies, a 9-1 loss on Sept. 15, 2004.

Philadelphia right fielder Bobby Abreu was scratched from Saturday’s starting lineup with back spasms, which ended his streak of 203 consecutive games played.

Abreu, mired in a 4-for-32 (.125) slump, may also get Sunday off.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Myers Cle vs. B. Claussen Was
12-7 Record 3-8
3.91 ERA 6.19
189 K 57
63 BB 28
1.30 WHIP 1.57