To clinch on Tuesday, the Reds will have to beat Wandy Rodriguez (or the Astros’ bullpen). While Wandy’s numbers at the surface – 7-7 with a 4.22 ERA in 19 starts – don’t make him a Reds Killer, he does enjoy striking out Reds. Rodriguez has 119 strikeouts in 106.2 innings against the Reds – by far his biggest total against any opponent. By comparison, he’s only struck out 73 against the Cardinals in 105.1 innings.
This season, the Reds have faced Wandy three times. On May 28 at GABP, they chased him in the 4th inning; he gave up 8 runs, all earned, on 8 hits (including 2 homers) and 2 walks and struck out 5 in 3 1/3 innings. On July 25 in Houston, he threw seven shutout innings, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 7 in the Astros’ 4-0 win. And just 11 days ago in Houston, Wandy struck out 10 (but also walked a season-high 6) in 6 innings, allowing 3 earned runs and 3 hits in Houston’s 5-3 win.
Wandy has won 8 of his past 10 decisions since starting the season 3-10. Also, his ERA on June 18 (when he was 3-10) was 6.09; now it’s 3.67. The guy enters Tuesday with a string of 12 consecutive quality starts, with 6 or more strikeouts in all but one of those and 9 or more Ks in 5 of them!
It was looking like 2010 might be a nightmare for him, but barring a disaster against the Reds or in his final start of the season, he’ll finish with a sub-4 ERA for the third consecutive season, which is pretty impressive.