The Reds look for their 10th consecutive win over the Astros as the teams meet on Sunday for the final time this season.
The Reds, who came into September with the second lowest-scoring offense in the majors, have tallied 10 or more runs in four of the last five games and outscored their opponents 54-16 during the winning streak.
“This game’s a whole a lot easier when you’re scoring runs,” manager Dusty Baker said.
Although Baker’s team has struggled for much of this year, he’s been able to rely on his lineup to produce against Houston. Cincinnati is averaging 6.3 runs during its nine-game winning streak against the Astros.
Bruce, who has driven in seven runs in the last five games, is 7 for 13 with two doubles and two homers during that stretch. The right fielder was 3 for 14 in his first six games back after returning Sept. 13 from a broken wrist.
“I’m starting to get in a little bit of a groove,” Bruce said. “I’m making better decisions now. The biggest thing for me is just not swinging at bad pitches.”
He might want to be more selective against Wandy Rodriguez(notes) (13-11, 2.97 ERA), who takes the mound for Houston in the finale. Bruce is just 1 for 15 with nine strikeouts against the left-hander.
Houston starters have been roughed up recently, going 1-7 with a 6.60 ERA during the team’s 1-11 stretch. Felipe Paulino(notes) gave up eight runs in five innings Saturday after Brian Moehler(notes) lasted only 2 1-3 innings Friday, surrendering seven runs.
Rodriguez will try to change Houston’s lack of success on the mound. He has a 1.13 ERA in four outings against Cincinnati this year, although he has split those contests.
Rodriguez comes in having lost his last two starts. He gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings of a 7-3 loss to St. Louis on Monday.
After a six-game losing streak, Cueto won his second consecutive decision on Tuesday, allowing two runs and nine hits in five innings of a 10-4 victory over the Pirates.
The right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.57 ERA in six starts against the Astros. He’s failed to record a decision in two starts against them this year, giving up two runs in 11 2-3 innings as Cincinnati won only one of those games.