Cincinnati (83-55) continues its 9-game homestand by hosting the woeful Houston Astros (42-95) to Great American Ball Park this weekend. The tale of the tape couldn't be more different for these National League Central clubs in 2012.
The Astros limp into the Queen City with the worst record in Major League Baseball and are undoubtedly counting down the days until the end of a dreadful season.
Meanwhile, the front-running Redlegs still have great ambitions for what the rest of this baseball campaign may hold. They enter play on Friday with a cushy 8.5 game lead in the Central and look to shrink their magic number from its current mark of 17.
Here are 10 facts you need to know about the 3-game series vs the Astros:
1. Friday and Saturday's games will start at approximately 7:10et while Sunday's will begin at 1:10et.
2. Here are the pitching matchups:
Fri - CIN Homer Bailey (10-9, 4.09) vs HOU Lucas Harrell (10-9, 3.81)
Sat - CIN Bronson Arroyo (11-7, 3.76) vs HOU Bud Norris (5-11, 4.80)
Sun - CIN Johnny Cueto (17-7, 2.58) vs HOU Edgar Gonzalez (1-0, 1.69)
3. Farewell, old friend - This weekend will mark the final meeting between the two clubs in 2012. They figure to see a lot less of each other in the coming seasons as Houston moves over to the AL West Division beginning in 2013.
4. Weekend Warriors - Cincinnati has won 12 of its last 14 games played on Friday, 14 of its last 17 games played on Saturday, and 7 of its last 9 on Sundays. They're 23-5 on all games played on the weekend since July 6th.
5. Texas kid - Bailey has fared quite well in his career versus the 'Stros. He is 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA in seven lifetime starts (48.2 IP) against them.
6. Road troubles - Houston sports a road record of 14-55 this season. They enter the weekend a full 40.5 games out of first place and 32 games off the Wild Card pace. Ouch.
7. Defensive opposites - The Astros rank second-to-last in the NL in fielding percentage (.981) while the Reds rank second-best (.985).
8. No offense, but - Tony DeFrancesco's club ranks last in MLB in runs scored (496) and last in the NL in average (.237), slugging (.370) and OPS (.672).
9. The killer C's - Cueto leads the league in ERA (2.58) as of Thursday. Aroldis Chapman leads the league in saves (35). Both appear to be strong candidates for the Cy Young Award. The Reds have never had a pitcher win the award.
10. Historical note - The Reds lead the all-time series by a mark of 438-397-1. The Reds also lead the season series, 9-3.