The hottest team in the NL heading into the second half of the season still owns one of the league’s worst records.
The Reds (36-52) are tied with Washington for the worst record in the NL as they kick off a season-high 11-game road trip.
Under Mackanin, who took over for the fired Jerry Narron on July 3, the Reds have gone 5-1 thanks in large part to better pitching. The staff has recorded a 3.70 ERA and .237 opponent batting average since the change, but Cincinnati’s 4.77 staff ERA still is second-highest in the NL, trailing only Philadelphia (4.91).
Bronson Arroyo (3-9, 4.84 ERA), perhaps the team’s most disappointing pitcher this year, will start for the Reds. The right-hander, coming off his second-straight 14-win season in 2006, leads the staff with 67 runs and 127 hits allowed this year.
Arroyo picked up his first win in nearly two months his last time out, allowing three runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings and hitting a homer in the Reds’ 6-3 win over San Francisco last Thursday.
“I felt like I could command the game. I had hitters on the defensive instead of feeling the opposite. I feel like I can go deeper in games and hold on to the same stuff I had to start the game,” said Arroyo, who was 0-7 with a 6.55 ERA in a 10-start winless streak after beating Colorado on May 6.
Arroyo is 2-1 with a 4.40 career ERA against the Mets, with both wins being complete games pitched at Shea Stadium.
Ken Griffey Jr., the Reds’ only All-Star representative in Tuesday’s game at San Francisco, was one of the NL’s best players at the plate with an RBI single and sacrifice fly. Playing in right field, though, he was unable to track down a ball hit in the fifth inning by Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki, who rounded the bases to record the first inside-the-park homer in All-Star history as the AL won 5-4.
With 586 career homers, Griffey needs one more to move past Frank Robinson into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list. Griffey is batting .197 with four homers in 20 career games at Shea.
New York (48-39) starts the second half with a two-game lead over second-place Atlanta in the NL East. The Mets closed the opening half by alternating wins and losses in their last five games, including an 8-3 loss to Houston on Sunday.
Carlos Beltran had a two-run homer and Jose Reyes an RBI single to help New York avoid being blanked. Reyes had three hits and a stolen base in the All-Star game, while Beltran and David Wright each had a hit for the NL.
Orlando Hernandez (4-4, 3.22) looks to bounce back from one of his worst starts of the season. The right-hander allowed six runs and six hits, and tied a career high with six walks in four innings of a 17-7 loss to Colorado on July 4.
“My control wasn’t good. But they hit some of my good pitches,” said Hernandez, who had given up two runs and three walks over his previous 13 innings.
His only two career starts against Cincinnati came last season and he lost both, posting a 7.11 ERA.
The Mets are 12-5 against the Central this season—their best record against an NL division.
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