Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Preview: Regular Season Game 103 - Mets at Reds


New York Mets (51-51) at Cincinnati Reds (50-52), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Jon Niese (9-8, 3.76) Cincinnati - Johnny Cueto (6-3, 1.98)

Dominican righty Johnny Cueto seeks his first career win against New York tonight when the Cincinnati Reds host the visiting Mets in the second contest of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

A winner of 38 decisions in 106 starts across three-plus big-league seasons, Cueto is winless in four tries against the Mets, going 0-2 with a bloated 8.14 earned run average in 21 innings of work. He's given up 30 hits and 19 runs in that stretch, while Mets batters have connected for a .333 batting average.

The 25-year-old has been lights-out against the rest of the league thus far in 2011, holding batters to a .198 average in 95 2/3 innings while winning six of nine decisions in 14 starts.

He earned his latest victory on July 20 at Pittsburgh, allowing four hits in six innings with four strikeouts while defeating the Pirates, 3-1.

In his last 10 starts, in which the Reds are 6-4, Cueto has allowed three runs or less and pitched at least six innings all 10 times.

Cincinnati is 9-5 in his 14 overall outings this season.

For the Mets, lefty Jon Niese can reach double-digit wins for the first time in his brief major-league career.



The 24-year-old product of Lima, Ohio was 9-10 in 30 starts last season in his first full-time season in the Mets' rotation.

Previously, he'd won two games in eight appearances across 2008 and 2009 after the Mets selected him in the seventh round in 2005.

He picked up win No. 9 this season on July 16 against Philadelphia, holding the Phillies to an earned run on six hits in seven innings of an 11-2 rout.

Niese was foiled in his first try at win No. 10 on July 21 against St. Louis when he dropped a 6-2 decision after allowing three runs an striking out seven in six innings.

He's 0-1 lifetime against the Reds in two starts.

In Monday's series opener, Daniel Murphy's tie-breaking two-run double highlighted a four-run seventh inning and the Mets escaped with 4-2 win.

Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay both knocked in a run in the decisive frame as the Mets halted a two-game skid.

R.A. Dickey (5-8) turned in a strong outing, allowing just two runs on eight hits while fanning seven over 6 2/3 innings.

Cincinnati loaded the bases with two down in the bottom of the ninth, but Jason Isringhausen struck out Brandon Phillips to earn his third save.

Mike Leake (8-6) surrendered two runs over 6 1/3 innings to suffer the loss.

Phillips and Drew Stubbs, who delivered a walk-off home run in Sunday's 4-3 victory over the Braves, each had an RBI for the Reds.

The Reds took four of six from the Mets last year.
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