Aside from Friday's 4-1 loss, the biggest problem for the Astros throughout the recent slide has been the club's lack of execution on the mound -- and that includes Saturday's starter, Wandy Rodriguez. The lefty turned in his worst outing of the season Monday against the Rockies, in which he allowed seven runs (four earned) off 10 hits in just five innings of work.
Thanks to some lofty run support, Rodriguez was left off the hook with a no-decision despite the eventual loss. Following the rough outing, Rodriguez offered a sentiment that could sum up many of the games during the streak, which has seen the Astros tally a respectable 4.0 runs per game, but concede 7.9 per contest.
"The guys scored a lot for me," Rodriguez said after the 9-7 loss. "If I had thrown a good game, I would have won, because I had good run support, but I didn't have good command of all my pitches."
Reds starter Mat Latos will also be looking for better control of his pitches after a rocky showing in his last trip to the mound, as well. Latos never had to pitch with a runner on base over his 7 1/3 innings of work Sunday, but his final numbers weren't exactly favorable.
Also pitching against the Rockies, the right-hander allowed five hits, all of which were solo home runs, in the 7-5 victory. Despite his inability to keep the opposition in the park at times, Latos became just the 11th starter in Major League history to serve up five long balls and still pick up the win, his fourth of the season.
"It's a bummer as a pitcher to see the ball leave the park five times," Latos said before adding that he doesn't believe the Reds' hitter-friendly home ballpark was to blame for the peculiar outing. "If I get my pitches down, maybe I'm giving up ground balls and not fly balls. I don't make excuses for the ballpark."
Reds: Day off doesn't slow down Reds
Prior to Friday's victory, Reds manager Dusty Baker actually expressed some concern over the potential effects of the club's first off-day in three weeks.
"A lot of times when you just go, go, go, go, go, go and then stop, it kind of hits you for a while," Baker said.
Instead, the Reds came out and extended their NL Central lead to 2.5 games over the Cardinals, who were no-hit by the Mets. Overall, the Reds are 10-3 in their last 13 games and have allowed just eight combined runs in their past four.
Astros: Houston continuing to monitor Buck
Outfielder Travis Buck missed his third consecutive game Friday night -- the fifth in the last six -- as he continues to nurse an injury to his right heel.
Buck last played in the second game of a Monday doubleheader, after which he couldn't quite pinpoint the source of his injury.
"We're kind of monitoring him a little bit," manager Brad Mills said. "After he played in the doubleheader [Monday in Denver], he doesn't really know how he hurt it, but it was really bothering him and was extremely sore. We really need to try to stay away from him. We're going to monitor him the next couple of days and see where we are."
Cincinnati is trying to win the season series against the Astros for the fourth consecutive season. Including their 3-1 record so far this year, the Reds are 34-16 against the Astros during that span.
Jay Bruce is just 2-for-29 [.069] with 15 strikeouts in his career against Rodriguez.