MLB Insiders - The Red Machine

The Cardinals after a 8-2 homestead are on the road this week. First stop, Cincinnati to take on the New Red Machine. Both teams at 17-8, sit on top of the National League Central Division.

MLB Insider

The Reds plan to put their best foot forward Monday against the Cardinals in the opener of a two-game series, moving up right-hander Bronson Arroyo on make the start.

It is left-hander Dave Williams' turn, but he is being moved back to Tuesday so Arroyo, 4-0 with a 2.34 ERA, can work on his normal days of rest. In his previous start Wednesday in Washington, Arroyo held the Nationals to one hit over eight innings in a 5-0 victory.

Arroyo's one shaky start this season was in St. Louis when he allowed five earned runs, including home runs by Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen, over five innings, his shortest outing.

He got a no-decision in that start, which ended on Pujols' third homer of the game, a ninth-inning blast off closer David Weathers.

"He's killing everybody, that's what he's doing," said Arroyo, referring to the major league record 14 homers Pujols hit in April. "But I have Rolen and Jim Edmonds to deal with as well, but Pujols is the guy you can't let beat you."

REPLAY: After recording his first major league victory last week in Washington, Elizardo Ramirez wasn't terrible Sunday, but he suffered a 3-2 defeat to the Astros. Houston avoided a three-game sweep and snapped the Reds' six-game winning streak.

Ramirez fell behind 3-0 early in the game, giving up a two-run home run to Lance Berkman and a solo homer to Jason Lane. He allowed six hits over six innings. The Reds were unable to do much against rookie right-hander Taylor Buchholz, who held them to two runs and three hits over 6 1/3 innings.


--CF Ken Griffey Jr., eligible to come off the disabled list last Friday, may play Monday against the Cardinals, but the club remains mum about it and his troublesome right knee. "I'm on no timetable with Griffey," manager Jerry Narron said. "When he tell us he's ready, he'll come off the DL and be in the lineup."

--3B Edwin Encarnacion, whom many believe was rushed too soon to the majors, hit only .232 in 69 games last year and struck out more than once every three at-bats. But he is opening eyes this year, batting .303 with a club-leading 24 RBIs (third in the league) and 10 doubles (tied for the league lead) while starting 21 of the team's 25 games.

--OF Cody Ross, acquired in a trade with the Dodgers last week, made his first pinch-hitting appearance Friday and struck out. He was hit on the little finger of his left hand on the swing, creating a bruise that has him day-to-day. "I was hit on the same hand twice during spring training, once on the wrist," he said, "and I'm fortunate I haven't had it broken because all three were fastballs."

--LHP Eric Milton underwent surgery on his left knee six days ago, but he long-tossed in the outfield before Sunday's game. He is eligible to come off the disabled on May 5, but the club is not speculating on his return to the rotation.

--LF Adam Dunn had eight home runs the first two weeks of the season but sat on eight since April 17 until he hit a two-run homer off Astros rookie RHP Taylor Buchholz on Sunday.

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