Series Preview: Reds/Rangers

It's the Texas Rangers, it's the Cincinnati Reds, it's a matchup between the two worst teams in baseball. Lone Star Dugout previews this weekend's matchup from Great American Ballpark.

Rangers (24-42) at Reds (26-41)

Friday, 6:10 PM: Vicente Padilla (2-8, 6.28 ERA) vs. Matt Belisle (5-4, 4.48 ERA)

In case you're still wondering how poorly the Rangers have performed when Padilla is on the hill this year, the proof is in the pudding: They're 2-11 and haven't won any of his last seven starts on the road. The Nicaraguan is 0-5 with an 8.74 earn run average on the road this year and has given up 15 runs in just seven innings over his last two games away from Arlington. Against former Rangers skipper Jerry Narron's ball club, Padilla is 3-2 with a 3.43 in 15 games.

Reds starter Matt Belisle has yet to win a game at home since picking up the victory in his major league debut back on April 6thand is 0-3 with a 4.65 ERA in his last five home starts. To his credit, he's been a fairly consistent pitcher on the mound this year, but lately Belisle has been victimized by the long ball, allowing six of them in his last five starts after only serving up two through his first eight outings of the 2007 season.

Saturday, 6:10 PM: Jamey Wright (0-0, 16.87) vs. Aaron Harang (6-2, 3.93)
Wright, who has been on the disabled list since April 13th with inflammation in his right shoulder, is expected to come off the disabled list in time to make the start Saturday evening. But suffice it to say, his last rehab appearance for Triple-A Oklahoma probably could have been a lot more reassuring. In it, Wright was thumped around for six runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings of work.

The former Rangers prospect Harang was the hard-luck participant of a no-decision in his last outing against Cleveland. He held the Indians scoreless through seven innings, giving up only three hits, two walks, and striking out 10, but the Reds offense failed to produce any kind of run support for the righty before exiting the game. Lately, he's found himself on the receiving end of some accusatory snipes from Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa after a bean ball incident last week.

Sunday, 12:15 PM: Kevin Millwood (2-6, 7.82) vs. Bronson Arroyo (2-7, 4.98)
Kevin Millwood's disastrous season continued last time out against the Pirates when he surrendered eight hits and six runs over 4 1/3 innings. He also managed to give up three homeruns to one of the weakest hitting clubs in the National League. He's now 0-5 with a 10.05 ERA in his last seven starts with opponents hitting .356 off him. Overall, the opposition is hitting .341 off him for the season, including .367 with runners in scoring position. You'd hate to speculate that his injury woes are back and worse than ever, but with one lackluster performance after another, Millwood isn't exactly doing anything to calm those fears.

Tuesday's outing was a breakthrough one for Bronson Arroyo: After four straight starts in which he allowed six earned runs or more, the righty managed to hold the visiting Angels to just three over six innings of work. But that performance came on the heels of the previous one in which Arroyo was torched for six runs on nine hits over 119 brutal pitches in just 6 2/3 innings of work. His velocity appears to be way down and it's become increasingly difficult for him to fool anybody with any of his offspeed stuff.

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