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Collins on Harvey's solid start despite loss

The Reds are hoping the same Homer Bailey who tossed eight innings of one-run ball against the Mets on June 16 takes the mound for Thursday's series finale.

Since that start, Bailey has been streaky. He struggled in his next two outings, but followed with a string of five consecutive quality starts.

But Bailey's recent stretch hasn't been anything to boast about. In his most recent three starts, Bailey has given up a combined 14 earned runs in as many innings, raising his ERA from 3.53 on July 25 to 4.08 entering Thursday's game.

Part of those struggles may be a result of Cincinnati being the only team in the Majors to use just five starters all season. Bailey has already surpassed his career highs in both starts -- Thursday will mark his 24th of the season -- and innings pitched (141 1/3).

"You get worried about it, but I mean, if he's feeling good, maybe he's gotten over the hurdle in training and how to take care of his own arm and how to warm up," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We've been worried about it all year."

Matt Harvey will take the hill for the Mets for what will be his fifth career start. In his last outing -- his Citi Field debut -- Harvey gave up a two-run home run to Atlanta's Jason Heyward in the top of the first inning, but he followed with five scoreless innings.

"Early on, I was coming out and walking five guys in the first three innings. That's the last thing you want to do," Harvey said following an eventual 4-0 Braves win. "You never want to come out and give up two runs in the first inning and throw 30-something pitches either.

"I did everything I could to figure it out as quick as possible, and I was fortunate enough to keep the team in some sort of winning distance. But like I've said in the past, I don't like to lose, and I don't like to give up runs. Tonight I didn't do my job very well."

Mets: Moving to six-man rotation
A six-man rotation will take effect in order to provide the Mets' starters with extra rest -- especially Johan Santana and Chris Young, who are both in their first seasons back from major shoulder surgeries.

Jeremy Hefner will rejoin the rotation on Sunday against Washington. The right-hander has already started six games for the Mets this season, most recently on Aug. 4 against San Diego.

"We think this is really going to give us the best chance to compete at the level we want to compete," manager Terry Collins said. "We're going to play some teams that are going to be playing for something very, very special, so we want to make sure we're running the best guys out there."

The only pitcher unaffected by the move is R.A. Dickey, who will continue to pitch on regular rest while the remainder of the rotation will slot around him.

Reds: Close eye on LeCure
Cincinnati is keeping tabs on reliever Sam LeCure, who has been bothered by inflammation in his shoulder.

LeCure -- who is 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 33 games this season -- has an 0.75 ERA over his last 12 appearances, but he has not pitched since throwing two-thirds of an inning on Friday vs. the Cubs.

"This guy has been big in our bullpen, because he can do a lot of things," Baker said on Wednesday. "Fortunately for us, we got deep in the game [on Tuesday], which allows us some luxury today. If we go deep in the game today, it allows us some luxury tomorrow not to have to have to use him. If it doesn't get better, then we have to make a decision [about putting him on the disabled list], but right now, we're not at that point."

Worth noting
• With the Reds' 6-1 win over the Mets on Wednesday, Cincinnati has won five in a row against New York and six of seven meetings in 2012.

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