Reds-Rangers Preview


Mat Latos got back in the win column his last time out after seeing his long undefeated streak come to an end. Yu Darvish, meanwhile, is still trying to put the brakes on his winless streak.

The right-handers face off Sunday as the visiting Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers meet in the rubber match of their three-game series.

A 21-start regular season undefeated streak for Latos (7-1, 3.05 ERA), which dated back to Aug. 24, came to an end against Pittsburgh on June 18. But he rebounded last Sunday by yielding one run over 7 2-3 innings in a 4-2 victory at Arizona.

Latos matched a career high with 13 strikeouts, tied for baseball's third-most this year.

"You start striking out a lot of players, you start throwing a lot of pitches," said Latos, who registered 79 of his 110 pitches for strikes. "Maybe it would have been great to go all nine and not strike out 13, but I'll take it. It was a good win."

Darvish (7-3, 2.95) hasn't won since May 16 against Detroit. He's 0-2 despite a 2.93 ERA in seven outings since, receiving an average of only 2.35 runs of support in those games from a team that averages 4.3 runs per contest.

The longest Darvish went without a victory in his 16-win rookie season last year was three starts.

He has been troubled by the long ball lately, including his last start when he yielded a career-high three homers, all solo shots over 5 1-3 innings in a 4-3 road loss to the Yankees on Tuesday. Darvish also gave up two home runs in his prior start after allowing none in the previous three.

His average of 0.85 homers allowed per nine innings prior to the last two starts ranked as one of the lower figures among AL pitchers.

"He's pitching," manager Ron Washington said. "I don't see any difference in what he's been doing. Maybe at times he throws pitches he can get away with, but he didn't get away with it tonight."

After falling victim to two straight shutouts, the Reds' offense woke up in a 6-4, 11-inning victory Saturday. Shin-Soo Choo set the tone with a homer on the game's first pitch, and Devin Mesoraco put Cincinnati (46-35) ahead with a two-run homer in the top of the 11th for the Reds' second win in eight games

"Every streak starts with one. You got to get one before you get 10, six or whatever it is," manager Dusty Baker said. "I think one game can get you going. And the way you win it gets you going sometimes too."

Choo finished with three hits after going 1 for 19 over his previous six games, the only hit a home run.

Lance Berkman missed a second straight game for the Rangers (47-34) with a sore right knee, which he hurt while getting off the team's plane Thursday.

"(Berkman) can't be sore and come in here tomorrow ready to play," Washington told the team's official website. "I haven't talked to the doctors yet. He's not going to have that miraculous recovery. Tomorrow maybe a different story."

Ian Kinsler occupied Berkman's normal DH spot and went 0 for 5, continuing his slump as he's 2 for 18 over his last five contests.