MLB Baseball

Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Houston0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 390
Cincinnati3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 x 460
  W: A. DeSclafani (4-3)   L: J. Verlander (9-3)   S: M. Lorenzen (4)
4:10 PM PT5:10 PM MT6:10 PM CT7:10 PM ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 PM MST6:10 PM EST6:40 PM VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 PM CT, June 18, 2019
Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio  Attendance: 25,347

Reds get rare look at Astros' Verlander

According to STATS
According to STATS

Houston Astros at Cincinnati Reds

  1. The Astros and Reds have met twice since Houston made the switch to the AL. There was a Reds sweep in 2013, and a 2-1 series win for the ‘Stros in 2016. Houston is 16-21 against its former division since changing leagues, its worst record against any division over that time.
  2. The Astros took two of three from the Blue Jays in Houston, their 13th consecutive series won or tied. That is the longest active streak in baseball and one short of the longest streak in team history. The Astros won or tied 14 consecutive series from April 15 to May 24, 1998.
  3. The Reds defeated the Rangers 11-3 on Sunday to avoid the sweep. This is the third consecutive series in which Cincinnati has needed to win the final game to avoid the sweep. In June, Cincinnati has scored 6.5 runs per game in four wins and 1.5 runs per game in eight losses.
  4. Jesse Winker had four hits and five RBI in Sunday's win over the Rangers, the most hits and most RBI in any game of his career. Winker has an OPS of .919 in home games this season and a .634 OPS in away games.
  5. Alex Bregman has 10 walks in his last five games. The only other player with 10 walks in a five-game span this season is Mike Trout (LAA, April 6 to April 15).
  6. Luis Castillo has pitched at least 5.0 innings in all seven home starts this season, and he has allowed one earned run or fewer in five of the seven starts. Aaron Nola, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Julio Teheran are the only NL pitchers who have as many home starts with 5.0+ innings pitched and one ER or fewer.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 6/17/2019 thru 6/19/2019
(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Even for the powerhouse teams in the majors, interleague games can often provide unique challenges and mitigate advantages that come with superior rosters and edges in experience.

Despite having played the Reds hundreds of times, Houston faced Cincinnati for the first time since 2016 Monday and paid its first visit to Great American Ball Park since Sept. 7-9, 2012.

A lot has changed for both teams since they last played in Cincinnati, with the Astros opening this three-game series against Luis Castillo, a right-hander whom none of the Houston position players had seen previously.

That lack of familiarity will be an ongoing theme throughout the remainder of the series for the Astros, who have amassed a combined 15 at-bats against Reds right-handers Anthony DeSclafani and Tyler Mahle, the scheduled starters for Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Houston had a book on Castillo, who entered Monday second in the major leagues with a 2.20 ERA, but lacked the at-bats to do much more than muster two hits and two runs in his six innings.

"It was our first look at him," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Castillo. "We hadn't had guys that had seen him. I can see why the National League is having a hard time with him."

Astros right-hander Justin Verlander (9-2, 2.41 ERA) will start against the Reds for just the second time in his career on Tuesday. He did not factor into the decision on June 9, 2012, while pitching for the Tigers in Cincinnati after allowing two runs on six hits and three walks with nine strikeouts over six innings in a 3-2 Detroit win.

Verlander has logged consecutive no-decisions despite recording 22 strikeouts against zero walks over 13 1/3 innings. Verlander has allowed six earned runs during that stretch and three home runs. He has surrendered 17 homers in 100 2/3 innings this season.

DeSclafani (3-3, 4.43 ERA) will start opposite Verlander for the Reds. This will mark the first career appearance against the Astros for DeSclafani, who is 3-2 with a 4.27 ERA over nine career starts against the American League. He is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA over two starts this month with nine strikeouts over 10 2/3 innings, lowering his ERA by 0.54 runs.

The Reds improved to 10-15 in one-run games with their 3-2 victory Monday. Cincinnati has been plagued by close defeats this season, improving to 32-38 despite a plus-39 run differential. Defeating a quality opponent like the Astros provides a small measure of validation for the Reds, who are embracing the challenge of facing Verlander on Tuesday.

"It was helpful that we got to face (Nationals ace right-hander Max) Scherzer a couple weeks ago," Reds center fielder Nick Senzel said of a 4-1 loss on June 2. "That's a legend in the sport, and the same for (Verlander). You just want to compete, and when you face guys like that, you want your game to elevate to that level, and I'm sure we're going to do that

"We need to start getting rolling before the (first) half (of the season concludes). We need to get on a little run. We're capable of doing that."

--Field Level Media

Updated June 18, 2019

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