Looking to shake an extended slump, Carmona takes the mound for visiting Cleveland as it tries to continue its recent domination of Cincinnati on Saturday when the teams continue a three-game set Saturday.
The Indians (43-37), who took all three meetings while outscoring their in-state rival 19-9 in May, picked up right where they left off, recording their highest run total in a month with Friday’s 8-2 victory.
Asdrubal Cabrera(notes), Carlos Santana(notes) and Grady Sizemore(notes) each homered against Bronson Arroyo(notes), whose eight runs allowed raised the Cincinnati starter’s ERA to 9.15 in the series this year.
Cleveland, which regained the AL Central lead, has taken five straight from the Reds dating to last season, but will likely need to get a better effort out of Carmona (4-10, 5.89 ERA) to extend its run.
Carmona has lost seven of eight decisions while compiling an 8.58 ERA since May 19, owning both the worst record and the most losses in the majors over that span.
The right-hander has been especially bad on the road during that time frame, going 1-4 with a 9.75 ERA in five outings. He allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings of Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at San Francisco but was encouraged by his performance.
“I’m happy, because I pitched much better,” he said.
While Carmona has lost three consecutive interleague outings with a 9.20 ERA, he has posted a solid 2.70 mark in two lifetime starts against a Reds team which is 5-11 against the AL this season.
Cincinnati (42-42), which leads the NL with 4.78 runs per contest, has scored three or fewer runs in seven of eight home games. Joey Votto(notes) and Jay Bruce(notes), who went a combined 0 for 7 on Friday, haven’t been able to muster much offense.
Votto is 5 for 31 (.161) during the team’s 2-6 stretch at Great American Ball Park while Bruce is 6 for 29 (.207).
In contrast, Brandon Phillips(notes), who spent the first four years of his career in Cleveland, went 3 for 4 - including his 1,000th career hit - and provided all of Friday’s offense with two homers.
Phillips, who is 3 for 6 lifetime versus Carmona, is hitting .455 in his last 10 games. Votto is 2 for 6 against the righty and Bruce is 2 for 2.
In his first start since missing a month with a sprained right shoulder, Homer Bailey(notes) (3-2, 3.86) gave up season worsts of five runs and nine hits in five innings of Sunday’s 7-5 defeat at Baltimore.
“Overall I thought I threw well, but unfortunately they hit,” Bailey said.
Like his counterpart, Bailey has faltered during interleague play, going 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA over his last five games - four of which have come against Cleveland.