(Sports Network) – Though his name was mentioned in numerous trade rumors, Wandy Rodriguez is still an Astro. He draws the start tonight and will try to guide Houston to another victory over the Cincinnati Reds this evening in the second contest of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.
While outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn found new homes prior to Sunday’s deadline, the Astros elected not to move Rodriguez, with reports saying that the three-year, $34 million contract he signed before this season made it difficult to deal the lefty. So, Houston held on to its starter, who is 7-7 with a 3.47 earned run average in 19 games this season.
Rodriguez, who could still be traded if he clears waivers, snapped a three- decision losing streak on Thursday by beating the Cardinals, 5-3. The 32-year- old allowed three runs over seven innings, but only one was earned. He also struck out six and retired the final 13 batters faced.
“Wandy was super. He didn’t let the unearned runs bother him,” Astros manager Brad Mills said.
Rodriguez brings a career 7-7 record and 4.06 ERA against the Reds into this matchup and that includes a no-decision on May 11. He was charged with three runs over seven innings, giving up solo homers to Chris Heisey and Drew Stubbs.
Houston drew first blood in this series last night with a 4-3 victory in extra innings, just the club’s third win in its last 11 games. Jose Altuve knocked in the winning run, grounding a ball to second with the bases loaded. The Reds’ Brandon Phillips fired home, but catcher Ryan Hanigan dropped the throw.
Joey Votto smacked an RBI double and Stubbs added two hits for the Reds, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the Giants and now turn to a starter in Homer Bailey who is coming off one of the worst starts of his career.
Bailey failed to secure a third straight victory on Thursday, when he was hammered for a career-high nine runs along with 12 hits over four-plus innings versus the Mets. The right-hander had allowed just three runs over his previous two outings, but passed that total by the fourth inning.
“It was a matter of not making pitches,” said Bailey after the 10-9 loss. “Bottom line is I didn’t get the job done today. Our offense scored enough runs.”
Bailey fell to 5-5 in 11 starts this season while watching his ERA jump from 3.67 to 4.68. His 2011 season does include a victory over the Astros on May 10, when he logged seven scoreless frames and struck out five to move to 2-0 lifetime versus Houston with a 1.45 ERA.
Votto’s hot hitting could help Bailey tonight. The reigning NL MVP has hit in seven straight, including five two-hit games, and has driven in 10 runs in that span. He is hitting .353 (12-for-34) in his career versus Rodriguez, but has never homered off him.
The Reds have taken six of 10 from the Astros this year and are 28-13 in this series since the start of the 2009 season.