Arroyo looks to snap a frustrating winless stretch and help the Reds edge closer to the top of the NL Central when they wrap up their four-game series with the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday at Great American Ball Park.
Arroyo (9-7, 3.47 ERA) has not won since June 19, going 0-4 with a 5.31 ERA in nine starts since. He allowed five runs and eight hits—including two homers — in 5 2-3 innings of the Reds’ 8-6 win over Atlanta on Saturday, but did not receive a decision.
Arroyo was pitching on three days’ rest for the second time in his career and first since his rookie season in 2000 so that he would be available for this series.
“I felt as good as I do on any normal day,” said Arroyo, who asked to make the start early.
Frustrated at remaining stuck on nine wins for so long, Arroyo had his shoulder-length hair braided into corn rows this week—the same look he sported during Boston’s World Series run in 2004 while he was with the Red Sox. Bo Derek also wore the hairstyle in the 1979 movie “10.”
“I kept letting it slide and letting it slide,” Arroyo said. “In Houston, I almost went to get my hair done, then thought no, I’m going to get it (No. 10). It didn’t come, so I can’t wait any longer.”
Arroyo is 1-2 with a 6.21 ERA in seven career appearances, including five starts, against the Cardinals—his second-highest ERA against any NL opponent. He has faced them twice this season, going 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA and pitching a 6-1 complete-game victory on May 1.
The Reds (59-55) beat the Cardinals 8-7 on Wednesday for their fourth win in six games. David Ross hit a walk-off home run off St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen, and Adam Dunn, Scott Hatteberg and Edwin Encarnacion added solo shots off Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter.
The Reds, who lost Monday’s series opener 13-1 but rebounded with a 10-3 victory on Tuesday, moved to within 2 1/2 games of the Cardinals. Cincinnati and St. Louis face each other four more times in the next eight days, wrapping up a season series that Cincinnati leads 8-3.
“I know it’s going to be a lot of fun, no matter what,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “It’s a big game any time you’re playing a first-place team.”
“The last couple of years, we won 100 and ran away with the division,” said Isringhausen, who is 29-for-37 in save opportunities. “This year, we’re not playing as well. Hopefully we’ll grind it out, come out on top, and that will make us better at playoff time.”
Spiezio replaced Scott Rolen, who left in the third inning with a back spasm and is day-to-day.
Anthony Reyes (3-5, 4.63) will start the finale for St. Louis. The rookie right-hander gave up three runs and five hits in five innings of Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, helping St. Louis snap its second eight-game losing streak of the season.
Reyes made his only career appearance against the Reds on Oct. 2 of last season, pitching one scoreless inning without receiving a decision.