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Reds turn to Hunter Greene against struggling Cardinals

Sportsnaut
Jul 9, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene (21) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Reds rookie Hunter Greene will try to take another developmental step Friday night when he faces the St. Louis Cardinals for the third time.

Greene (3-10, 5.70 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game series in St. Louis. The Cardinals will counter with rookie right-hander Andre Pallante (2-4, 3.18).

In two starts against the Cardinals, Greene, a right-hander, is 0-1 with his 4.32 ERA. On June 11, he held them to one run on two hits and two walks while striking out seven in five innings.

In his last start, Greene limited the Tampa Bay Rays to a run on three hits and four walks in six innings. He struck out nine, tying his season high, and six strikeouts came on pitches of 100 mph or faster.

In his start before that, Greene allowed six runs on seven hits — including two home runs — and one walk in 5 1/3 innings against the New York Mets.

“Going through my last two starts has been tough, it’s been a challenge,” Greene told MLB.com. “It was a great matchup for me. Being able to execute those fastballs was big for me. There’s still a lot of work to be done. I don’t want to rely on my velocity to get through.”

The next step for Greene will be working deeper into games. He has worked seven innings or more just twice this season.

“I notice that with the best in the game, they’re still able to get through and cruise second and third time through,” Greene said. “I’ve had some games where I’ve been able to do that. Then there have been games where that’s been more of a challenge. That’s definitely something I’ll continue to work on.”

The Reds have won six of their last seven games; the Cardinals have lost 10 of their last 15.

“We’re at a spot where we’re still a couple of guys down and in a part of our schedule when it’s been tough,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said after the Cardinals fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 Thursday night. “Guys are tired, they don’t want days off, they want to stay in there until this thing wraps up and we go to the All-Star break.”

After allowing seven runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings during a 7-1 loss at Atlanta on July 5, Pallante rebounded with a better performance (three runs allowed on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings) in a game the Cardinals won 4-3 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

“Three runs in less than six (innings) is not what I’m trying to do and not the expectations this team has for anyone who starts,” Pallante told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I still make a lot of mistakes.”

Pallante has faced the Reds twice this season, once in relief and once as a starter. He is 1-0 with no runs allowed on five hits over 6 2/3 innings.

As expected, the Cardinals activated outfielder Tyler O’Neill from the 10-day injured list (hamstring strain, wrist contusion) Thursday and sent Lars Nootbaar to Triple-A Memphis.

The Reds got outfielder Nick Senzel back in the lineup Thursday after he was a late scratch in Wednesday’s game due to back stiffness.

–Field Level Media