Monday, May 03, 1999

SCOUTING REPORT


Reds vs. Diamondbacks

• Where: Cinergy Field.

• When: 7:05 p.m. today, Tuesday and Wednesday.

• Records: Reds 9-14, sixth in NL Central; Diamondbacks 14-12, third in NL West.

• Radio: WLW-AM (700).

• TV: Fox Sports Ohio, Wednesday only.

At the plate
        The Diamondbacks lead the league in homers while ranking third in runs and fifth in batting average.

        After hitting .263 and .267 his last two seasons, third baseman Matt Williams again looks like the MVP candidate he was with San Francisco. He leads the league in hits and home runs, shares the lead in RBI, doubles and multi-hit games and ranked among the top 10 in average and slugging percentage.

        Luis Gonzalez, who spent last year with Detroit, has celebrated his return to the NL by hitting .390.

On the mound
• Today: Steve Parris (0-0, 0.00) vs. Andy Benes (2-2, 8.76).

• Tuesday: Jason Bere (2-0, 6.00) vs. Omar Daal (2-2, 3.34).

• Wednesday: Steve Avery (1-2, 2.02) vs. Randy Johnson (2-1, 3.40).

        After obtaining starters Johnson, Todd Stottlemyre and Armando Reynoso as free agents, the Diamondbacks were bound to improve their pitching, which ranked 12th in the league last year with a 4.63 ERA.

        The league has treated Benes rudely, hitting .307 against him. But lefties Daal and, of course, Johnson have stifled opponents, who have hit .216 and .204, respectively.

        Opponents are hitting just .179 off relief ace Gregg Olson, who has four saves. Lefty Greg Swindell, formerly a starter and an ex-Red (1992), also has been effective in relief, posting a 1.80 ERA with a .167 opponents' batting average.

Outlook
        The Reds were 5-4 against Arizona last year in the Diamondbacks' inaugural season, winning five of the final six meetings. Cincinnati's 4-8 home record is second-worst in the NL.

       



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