Preview: Reds at Yankees
The New York Yankees have struggled in many areas this season, but their strong performance in interleague play has kept them afloat in the American League East. The Yankees vie for their majors-best 13th win over a National League club on Sunday afternoon when they attempt to complete a three-game series sweep of the visiting Cincinnati Reds. Winning the first two contests of its 10-game homestand is certainly a boon for New York, which is only 20-23 in the Bronx but has an American League-high 38 contests remaining at home.
After going 2-for-4 in his return from a concussion on Friday, Carlos Beltran continued his strong series with a solo homer in Saturday's 7-1 triumph. The veteran looks to continue his good fortune against Sunday starter Johnny Cueto, against whom he is 6-for-14 with a pair of homers. Chris Heisey went deep on Saturday for the second time in four contests to extend his hitting streak to five games and is 2-for-3 with a homer versus Sunday starter Hiroki Kuroda.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Johnny Cueto (10-6, 2.13 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Hiroki Kuroda (6-6, 4.10)
Cueto recorded his second straight victory and fifth in six decisions with a quality start versus Pittsburgh on Sunday. The 28-year-old Dominican owns a 2-1 career mark and a 1.89 ERA against New York while striking out 18 in 19 innings. Cueto deserves a better fate than having split six decisions away from home as he has limited the opposition to a .190 batting average.
The only member remaining from New York's Opening Day rotation, Kuroda settled for a no-decision in his last outing after allowing two runs on three hits in seven innings against Baltimore. The 39-year-old Japan native kept his control in check and did not walk a batter for the first time since May 28. Kuroda owns a 3-2 career mark versus Cincinnati, but was battered for four runs in 6 1/3 innings to take the loss in their last meeting.
1. Cincinnati RF Skip Schumaker passed his concussion test and is awaiting the approval from Major League Baseball and the Players' Association before he can be activated.
2. New York SS Derek Jeter is 10-for-29 with four multi-hit performances in his last seven games, but is 0-for-6 in his career versus Cueto.
3. Reds 1B-C Brayan Pena is 3-for-7 in the series and 13-for-42 lifetime versus the Yankees.
PREDICTION: Reds 4, Yankees 2