Seeking his second victory in 15 starts overall, Arroyo tries for an eighth consecutive winning decision over the Astros as Cincinnati concludes its home schedule Wednesday afternoon.
Arroyo (8-12, 5.34 ERA) won a career-high 17 games in 2010, but has been unable to build on that success. He battled a case of mononucleosis early in the season and is 1-6 with a 5.42 ERA since the start of July.
“From my standpoint, I get paid what I get paid to go out there and toe the rubber every fifth day and try to give this team an opportunity to win,” Arroyo told the Reds’ official website. “I haven’t been able to do that this year even close to consistently like I should have or have in the past. It’s been a big bump in the road. All you can do is make as many adjustments as you can and find a way to be successful.”
The right-hander’s biggest problem has been his inability to keep the ball in the park. He has surrendered an MLB-high 44 home runs, four coming in Friday’s 6-3 loss to Milwaukee. Arroyo is six home runs away from matching Bert Blyleven’s all-time single-season record set in 1986.
Arroyo, though, doesn’t plan to shy away from possibly reaching the record.
“You don’t want to cower like that,” he said. “At the end of the day, the only way you lose is if you lose heart. You leave your guts on the field. You have to go out and not try to give up four or five home runs.”
There’s probably no opponent Arroyo would rather see now than the Astros (53-101). He is 7-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last eight starts against them. He yielded three runs and six hits over a season best-tying eight innings of a 4-3, 10-inning loss at Houston on Aug. 1.
Cincinnati (75-80) snapped a four-game skid with a 6-4 victory Tuesday. Homer Bailey(notes) pitched two-run ball over seven innings, and Brandon Phillips(notes) continued his power surge with his sixth homer in nine games.
Drew Stubbs(notes), who fanned twice Tuesday to extend his single-season franchise record to 200, is 3 for 19 (.158) with nine strikeouts against Rodriguez. Stubbs is mired in a 3-for-31 (.097) funk over his last nine games.
Rodriguez (11-10, 3.55) has overpowered opponents of late, striking out 33 in his last four starts spanning 24 2-3 innings. He is two away from becoming the first Astros lefty to record 1,000 career strikeouts.
Rodriguez, who yielded five runs in as many innings during a 5-1 loss to the Reds on Aug. 2, is 0-3 with a 5.12 ERA over his last four starts at Great American Ball Park.