The Cincinnati Reds will look to continue their trend of fast starts when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday in the second game of their four-game series.
Cincinnati has scored in the first inning in each of their five games to open an eight-game homestand, and 11 runs overall in the opening frame. The Diamondbacks, by contrast, haven’t scored in 19 innings and have lost three straight and are 1-3 to begin their 10-game road trip through Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
The Reds send right-hander Graham Ashcraft (2-0, 1.53 ERA) to the mound. The rookie hurler has impressed in his first three major league starts.
In his last start, on Thursday against the visiting Washington Nationals, Ashcraft recorded 14 ground-ball outs and registered his second win, allowing just one run on four hits in seven innings.
Ashcraft, featuring a fastball that reached 100 several times over the first two innings against Washington, is the sixth pitcher and third starting pitcher to debut for the Reds, joining Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene.
The Diamondbacks will counter with lefty Tyler Gilbert (0-2, 5.02), making his third start and fourth appearance of the season. The Diamondbacks confirmed after Monday’s game that Gilbert will be recalled from Triple-A Reno to make the spot start with Humberto Castellanos (elbow) on the injured list.
The Diamondbacks had only a Daulton Varsho bunt single to open the game against Cincinnati starter Hunter Greene. Arizona, which was shut out Sunday in Pittsburgh, has not scored since tallying a single run in the sixth inning of Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Pirates.
“We’ve got to be better,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’re a very capable offensive team, and we have a good approach, and we don’t try to do too much and have big thoughts. It looked like we were having some big thoughts based on the types (of swings) I was watching us take.”
Reds manager David Bell was pleased to see his team, which lost three straight coming into Monday, continue its recent trend of scoring early, with runs in each of the first two innings against Arizona.
“That’s why it’s a team game and it’s a lineup, and it all kind of works together,” Bell said. “There’s no question they win and lose as a team, which is all you can ask for.”
Before Monday’s game, Arizona general manager Mike Hazen confirmed that the club had signed veteran lefty pitcher Dallas Keuchel to a minor league contract. Keuchel worked earlier in his career with Arizona pitching coach Brent Strom, who coached the 2015 AL Cy Young winner for five seasons with the Houston Astros.
The 34-year-old Keuchel made eight starts for the White Sox this year, going 2-5 with a 7.88 ERA before being released on May 30.
Reds second baseman Jonathan India, who has played in only 11 games, received a clean bill of health Monday when an MRI came back clean on his right hamstring. The 2021 National League Rookie of the Year will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday.
“This morning, it was amazing. I called my dad. it was a good feeling for sure,” India said. “It’s the longest I’ve ever been hurt with an injury, a serious injury. This is a serious injury where it can come back at the end of your career. I’m glad I took the time to get where I’m at. I’m good to go now.”
India played in seven games before sustaining the injury, and after spending one stint on the injured list, he reinjured the hamstring after only four games.
Also, Reds infielder Mike Moustakas will be out indefinitely after being placed on the injured list with an undisclosed injury, with outfielder TJ Friedl taking his place on the roster after being recalled from Triple-A.
–Field Level Media