Reds-Giants looking to right the ship tonight

Reds-Giants. A season ago, they were playoff teams. Right now, they are struggling teams. When the two start a four-game series tonight on ESPN at Great American Ball Park — the scene of last year’s crime when the Giants took three straight from the Reds to win the NL Divisional Series, 3-2 — both clubs will be looking for a mid-course correction.

The Giants snapped a six-game losing streak with a 5-2 win at Colorado on Sunday. The defending world champs have lost eight of their last 10 games.

Surprisingly, starting pitching is San Francisco’s problem. Matt Cain has a 4.29 ERA. Barry Zito is at 4.53. Tim Lincecum is at 4.64. Ryan Vogelsong was at 7.19 before breaking his hand on a swing and being place on the disabled list on May 22. He was expected to miss six to eight weeks.

The Giants are currently 10th in the NL in overall team ERA at 4.02.

The Reds have lost seven of their last nine. Hitting has been the problem for Dusty Baker’s club. The Reds were blanked in successive games last week. They have score more than five runs in a nine-inning game since June 11 at Chicago. And the rules don’t allow a team to play the Cubs every game.

The Reds are currently ninth in the NL in team batting average at .248.

In the standings, Cincinnati (46-36) is 5.5 games behind NL Central leader Pittsburgh. San Francisco (39-42) is three games behind NL West leader Arizona.

Here are the probable pitchers for the four-game set:

  • Monday (7:00) – Bronson Arroyo (6-6) vs. Michael Kickham (0-2)
  • Tuesday (7:10) – Homer Bailey (4-6) vs. Tim Lincecum (4-8)
  • Wednesday (7:10) – Tony Cingrani (3-0) vs. Barry Zito (4-6)
  • Thursday (1:10) – Mike Leake (7-3) vs. Matt Cain (5-4)

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