The NL Central-leading Reds continue their longest road trip in nearly a decade Monday night in the start of a three-game set with the Mets.
Cincinnati (47-36) hasn’t been to the playoffs since 1995, finishing no higher than third after 2001. Meanwhile, New York (46-36) ended last season 23 games behind NL champion Philadelphia, and a slow start this year led to speculation about manager Jerry Manuel’s job status.
Cincinnati comes in after taking three of four from the floundering Cubs capped by a 14-3 rout Sunday. Drew Stubbs(notes) hit three of seven homers for the Reds, who kept their 1 1/2-game lead in the division over St. Louis.
“You could tell in BP it was going to be a good day for hitters,” Stubbs said. “The wind blowing out the way it was, all you’re looking to do is get pitches up and try to be on the ball. Not only myself, but a number of other guys were able to do that today.”
Cincinnati is tied with Milwaukee for the NL lead with 102 homers.
Also Sunday, New York took an early eight-run lead, and held off Washington 9-5 to finish with a split of its six-game road trip. Jason Bay(notes) had his first four-RBI game for the Mets, who also got a two-run homer from rookie Ike Davis(notes), and two hits from All-Star David Wright(notes).
“It’s never gets old,” said Wright, who’s headed to his fifth straight Midsummer Classic. “It’s more important that we’re right in the middle of this race.”
Over nine starts in Queens, Pelfrey is 6-0 with a 1.98 ERA. No Mets pitcher has opened 7-0 at home since David Cone’s 8-0 start in 1989.
However, Pelfrey will try to bounce back from one of his poorest outings of 2010. Though he didn’t get a decision Wednesday in a 6-5 win over the Marlins in Puerto Rico, the right-hander allowed a season-high 12 hits while throwing 108 pitches in 4 2-3 innings.
Pelfrey is 3-1 with a 4.65 ERA in five career starts against Cincinnati.
A 16-game winner in 2006 and 2007, Harang has gone a combined 12-31 over the last two years. This season, the right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.09 ERA in four road starts since his only win away from home April 27 in Houston.
In two career games against the Mets in New York, Harang is 1-1 with an ERA of 8.00.
Prior to an 11-game swing - Cincinnati’s longest since 2001 - Harang failed to get a decision Wednesday against Philadelphia after allowing three runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings. Jay Bruce’s(notes) two-run homer in the eighth off Roy Halladay(notes) helped rally the Reds to a 4-3 win.
The Reds lead the majors with 26 comeback victories while the Mets are tied for last with 11.
Cincinnati took two of three at home from the Mets in May but is 5-12 in New York since 2005, and hasn’t won back-to-back games in that span.