Arroyo, who has been shelled in his last few outings against the Blue Jays, takes the mound in Sunday’s series finale at Great American Ball Park, hoping to help the Cincinnati Reds avoid being swept in its second interleague series of the season.
The Reds (37-35) lead the NL in runs with 347, but they’ve plated 11 in five games against the AL. Drew Stubbs(notes) and Scott Rolen(notes) each homered in Friday’s 3-2 series-opening defeat, but Cincinnati was shut out for just the third time this season Saturday, losing 4-0.
“It’s like we take two steps forward and one back,” Dusty Baker said. “Now we’ve got to start moving forward. The thing is, we’ve got to figure out these American League teams.”
Joey Votto(notes), a Toronto native, hasn’t provided any offense in this series, going hitless in eight at-bats. The reigning NL MVP is batting .167 with two homers and six RBIs in his last nine games against the AL.
The Reds, who were swept in Cleveland four weeks ago, are 3-8 all-time against the Blue Jays. It could be tough for them to avoid the sweep with Arroyo (5-6, 5.23 ERA) on the mound.
Arroyo has been pummeled for a 27.00 ERA in losing his last three starts to Toronto, permitting 24 runs, 26 hits - including nine homers - and seven walks in 7 2-3 innings.
In his last start against the Blue Jays on June 24, 2009, the right-hander was tagged for seven runs in 3 2-3 innings of an 8-2 defeat.
Arroyo has been susceptible to serving up homers, surrendering the third-most in the majors with 16. Eleven of those have come in his eight starts at Great American Ball Park.
This could be problematic facing Toronto, which is fifth in the majors in homers with 80.
Jose Molina(notes) homered and doubled Saturday for the Blue Jays, while Jose Bautista(notes)—tied for the major league lead with 21 home runs—singled twice and drove in a run. First baseman Adam Lind(notes) singled and walked but failed to homer for the first time in five games.
Toronto (36-35) won for the fourth time in five games Saturday, and is seeking its first sweep of an NL opponent since winning three in a row in Philadelphia in June 2009.
Villanueva, who started the season as a reliever, allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings of a 6-5, 11-inning win over Baltimore on Tuesday.
“Every time I go out there, as my pitch count increases, I’ve been feeling stronger,” Villanueva told the Blue Jays’ official website. “I’m not getting tired.”
Villanueva, who spent his first five seasons with Milwaukee, is 2-1 with a 4.22 ERA in 19 games - four starts - against the Reds.
Arroyo gave up four runs and six hits in 7 2-3 innings in his last start, a 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. It was the sixth time in seven starts he yielded at least four runs.