Phillies-Reds Preview


The Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds are scuffling at the plate, and the weather didn't help either team from beginning to solve those issues.

That may be the case again.

With more rain in the forecast in Cincinnati, the Phillies and Reds will first complete the middle game of this series before finishing it off later Wednesday night.

Philadelphia (6-7) is hitting .240 while averaging 3.8 runs on the season, while Cincinnati (6-7) isn't much better with a .247 season average and 3.0 runs per game during a 1-5 stretch. That includes a 4-2 win for the Reds in Monday's opener.

Those struggles were on display Tuesday, when both teams mustered two hits each before rain caused umpires to suspend the game with no score in the middle of the ninth.

The game will be picked up at the same point on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., before the teams play the finale of their series no earlier than 7:10 p.m.

Since Phillies reliever Phillippe Aumont was warming up to start the bottom of the ninth, he'll have to face at least one batter and shortstop Zack Cozart - who had one of Cincinnati's hits - was due up.

"It'll be strange getting the first at-bat at home," Dusty Baker said. "I hope we win it before we get there (the 10th inning). It doesn't matter. They've got the heart of their lineup coming up. We're starting off even."

That may not matter since the Phillies have been held to three runs or fewer while splitting the first four games of this six-game trip, while going 4 for 21 with runners in scoring position over the past three contests.

"We haven't hit on this road trip," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Right now, we're hanging on a zero. We'll see if we can beat it (Wednesday)."

Michael Young continues to be one of Philadelphia's rare bright spots at the plate, leading the team with a .354 average. He's batting .435 during a seven-game hitting streak, which was extended Tuesday.

John Lannan (0-0, 2.77 ERA) knows all about the offense's shortcomings, and he's scheduled to start the second game. The left-hander has been backed by two total runs over his first two starts, despite solid performances.

He pitched well enough to win at Miami on Friday, yielding one run and three singles in six innings of a 3-1 victory in 10.

Lannan is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four starts against the Reds, but hasn't faced them since a visit to Cincinnati in 2009.

The Reds are expected to counter with Mike Leake (0-0, 6.75), and he's struggled greatly against the Phillies. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 9.33 ERA in five career starts against them, and the most recent was one of the shortest of his three-plus years in the majors.

Leake was tagged for six runs and six hits, with two leaving the park in 2 1-3 innings of a 6-2 home defeat on Sept. 5.

He struggled early at Pittsburgh on Friday, surrendering five runs and seven hits, while hitting a batter in the first two innings. He then settled down and tossed four scoreless and didn't get a decision in a 6-5 loss.

Ryan Howard has pounded Leake, going 6 for 12 with two homers, but he's 0 for 7 so far in this series. He owns a .226 career average in Cincinnati, and is 2 for 18 with five strikeouts in the last five games there.