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Old 08-16-2006, 01:15 PM
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Default Cincinnati (61-58) at St. Louis (63-55) Baseball Pick

Cincinnati (61-58) at St. Louis (63-55)

The Reds’ Bronson Arroyo (9-8, 3.54) and the Cardinals’ Anthony Reyes (4-5, 4.26) square off for the second time in less than a week when the top two teams in the N.L. Central battle in the middle game of this series.

Reyes outpitched Arroyo on Thursday in Cincinnati, tossing five shutout innings while yielding just two hits en route to a 6-1 victory. Arroyo gave up five of those six runs (four earned) on 10 hits in seven innings, losing his fifth consecutive decision dating to June 24.

St. Louis took the opener of this series Tuesday night, blanking the Reds 5-0 behind a complete-game four-hitter from ace Chris Carpenter. The victory snapped a three-game losing skid for Tony LaRussa’s team, which is still mired in slumps of 8-18 overall, 4-13 as a favorite and 4-6 at home.

The Reds, who now trail the Redbirds by 2½ games in the Central, still lead the season series 8-5, going 4-3 in St. Louis.

Arroyo is 0-2 with a bloated 7.11 ERA in his last four trips to the mound, and his ERA has soared from 2.31 to 3.54 in the last two months. During that stretch, the Reds are 4-8 when Arroyo pitches.

The veteran righthander has dropped four consecutive road decisions, and he’s 5-6 with a 4.10 ERA away from Cincinnati.

Including Thursday’s strong start against the Reds, Reyes is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in his last three starts. He’s also 2-1 with a 4.22 ERA in four starts at Busch Stadium.

Arroyo is 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA in eight career games (six starts) against St. Louis, while Reyes has made two appearances against the Reds this year (one relief) and allowed just two hits over six scoreless innings.

The under is 14-10-1 in Arroyo’s starts (7-4-1 on the road) and 7-3-1 when Reyes toes the rubber (2-1-1 at home).

The Cardinals have stayed low in their last five games.

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