Hard-luck lefty Wandy Rodriguez goes for a fourth quality start in five outings tonight when the Houston Astros visit Great American Ball Park for the opener of a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.
A 33-year-old Dominican, Rodriguez has allowed just four earned runs on 20 hits in 25 1/3 innings over four starts thus far in 2012 - but has managed only one win.
Houston was outscored, 12-6, in his initial three starts, then scored 12 runs in his most recent outing - a 12-0 rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 22.
Rodriguez has pitched six innings or more in three starts and allowed three earned runs or less in all four while walking only six batters and striking out 16.
Opposition batters are hitting just .208 against him, exactly 50 points below his career average of .258.
He is 7-9 in 23 starts against the Reds with a 4.17 earned run average.
Cincinnati counters with third-year righty Mike Leake, who seeks his first win after picking up two losses and a no-decision in his initial three starts.
The San Diego native allowed three runs in six innings of a 3-1 loss to St. Louis on April 10, but has since been touched for 10 runs in 15 hits in 12 innings of starts against Washington (no-decision) and Chicago (loss).
Leake won a career-best 12 games in 29 appearances last season after going 8-4 in 24 games - 22 starts - as a rookie in 2010.
He's 2-3 against the Astros in seven games with a 4.45 ERA.
On Thursday in Cincinnati, Angel Pagan smacked a go-ahead three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning, lifting the San Francisco Giants past the Reds, 6-5.
Javier Lopez (2-0) picked up the win with a scoreless eighth for San Francisco, which salvaged the finale of the three-game set.
Trailing 5-3 heading into the ninth inning, Sean Marshall (0-2) came on for Logan Ondrusek and walked Joaquin Arias to start the frame and Ryan Theriot followed with a base hit to left-center field. Two batters later, Pagan belted a 1-2 breaking pitch into the seats in left field to make it 6-5.
Meanwhile, in Milwaukee on Wednesday, J.D. Martinez had three hits and three RBI to help the Astros snap an 11-game losing streak to the Brewers with a 7-5 win.
Chris Snyder hit a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning and Martinez added a two-run base hit in the eighth for some cushion as the Astros salvaged the finale of the three-game series.
Wilton Lopez (2-0) earned the win with a perfect inning of relief for starter J.A. Happ and Jose Altuve had four hits and scored three runs. The first three hitters in Houston's lineup were 8-for-15 with four RBI and five runs scored.
Cincinnati was 9-6 against the Astros last season.