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Only one player in MLB history has thrown back-to-back no-hitters and he was a Cincinnati Red. Can current Reds righty Homer Bailey join Johnny Vander Meer in the record books on the final day of the regular season? The game also could have playoff seeding implications in the NL depending on what the Nationals do earlier in the day (a Washington loss and Cincy win gives the Reds the No. 1 overall seed). Bet on Reds-Cardinals and every game at WagerWeb.com.
Atlanta at Pittsburgh – Braves RHP Ben Sheets (4-4, 3.54) vs. Pirates RHP A.J. Burnett (16-9, 3.43): Sheets will be making what he expects to be the final appearance of his injury-plagued career. He is expected to pitch two innings before prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado also make brief appearances. … The veteran righty Burnett who spent the summer raising fans’ hopes gets to lower the 2012 curtain. He’s 3 1/3 innings short of 200 innings for the first time since 2009. His current ERA is second lowest of career (3.30 in 2002).
Philadelphia at Washington – Phillies LHP Cliff Lee (6-8, 3.12) vs. Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson (9-11, 4.13): Lee did his part in Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park. He pitched splendidly, allowing three hits, one run and striking out five in seven innings. But his night followed a familiar path: No run support. … Jackson will try to rebound from a disastrous outing in St. Louis, where he allowed nine runs in 1 1/3 innings. Manager Davey Johnson remains confident in Jackson, but a solid outing to end the regular season would help rebuild his morale.
Houston at Chicago Cubs – Astros RHP Edgar Gonzalez (3-1, 4.15) vs. Cubs LHP Travis Wood (6-13, 4.39): The veteran Gonzalez has done a nice job since the Astros picked him up from Mexican league. He’s 3-1 with a 4.15 ERA in five starts with the Astros and has been unbeatable on the road. He’s 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in three road starts. … Wood seemed “tired” in his last start, according to manager Dale Sveum. Wood says he’s fine. The Cubs want to see more life in his pitches in his final game. He has two wins in his last 12 decisions.
NY Mets at Miami – Mets RHP Jeremy Hefner (3-7, 5.32) vs. Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (0-0, 5.40): Hefner followed up the worst start of his career with his best, blanking the Pirates over seven innings of three-hit ball Wednesday. Hefner will start the season’s final game, hoping to make one final impression on the Mets heading into the winter. … Chad Gaudin was initially set to start, but Tuesday’s 11-inning game caused a switch. Koehler, a September callup, will make his first big league start. He’s appeared in seven games in relief. He was a starter at Triple-A.
Colorado at Arizona – Rockies LHP Jeff Francis (5-7, 5.75) vs. Diamondbacks RHP Ian Kennedy (15-11, 4.16): Francis joined the Rockies in June after beginning the year in Triple-A with the Reds and has generally pitched well, but struggled vs. the Dodgers in his last outing. Francis hopes for a good final outing, and is looking to re-sign with Colorado. … With a win on Friday, Kennedy became the fourth pitcher in franchise history to record back-to-back 15-win seasons. The D-backs’ ace joined Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Brandon Webb. Kennedy’s latest start also pushed him over 200 innings.
San Francisco at LA Dodgers – Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.46) vs. Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (13-9, 2.58): Since compiling a 10.31 ERA in a seven-start stretch, Vogelsong has recovered by stifling the Padres twice, surrendering one earned run in 12 innings over two starts. … Kershaw is scheduled to get one last outing to bolster his NL Cy Young credentials, but that could change if the Dodgers are mathematically out. The lefty, hip impingement and all, tossed eight shutout innings Friday while striking out 10.
San Diego at Milwaukee – Padres LHP Andrew Werner (2-3, 4.78) vs. Brewers RHP Josh Stinson (0-0, 0.00): The rookie Werner allowed three runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings in his sixth start in the Majors. He has surrendered a total of eight earned runs in his last two starts. … Stinson will make his first Major League start after the Brewers decided workhorse Yovani Gallardo had thrown enough innings in 2012. Stinson has working relief this month, so he might be capped at around 50 pitches.
Cincinnati at St. Louis – Reds RHP Homer Bailey (13-10, 3.75) vs. Cardinals RHP Shelby Miller (1-0, 2.35): In his final playoff tuneup, it will be hard for Bailey to match his previous outing — a no-hitter vs. the Pirates. But if he can, he’d be the first with back-to-back no-hitters since the Reds’ Johnny Vander Meer on June 11 and 15, 1938. … Since the Cardinals clinched the second Wild Card on Tuesday, the club will have Miller make his first Major League start on Wednesday so Adam Wainwright can be saved for the postseason. Miller has pitched 7 2/3 innings out of the Cards’ bullpen.