But on Saturday night during an 11-2 Reds loss to the Rockies, Simon was knocked around plenty by an ever-dangerous lineup. Colorado hit five home runs as the Cincinnati staff allowed a season high in both allowed runs and hits.
“Their lineup was very comfortable,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We can’t allow or afford to do that. We are a team that pitches to both sides of the plate and change speeds. That’s where we’ve been our most successful. Tonight, we threw a lot of mistakes that elevated out over the plate, and they made us pay.”
Simon lasted only three innings and gave up a season-high five earned runs and eight hits with three home runs. The start single-handedly raised his ERA by nearly a run, to 2.89 from 1.99.
The night started with Colorado hitting game with back-to-back homers to lead off the game.Charlie Blackmon hit the first one into the right-field seats for his second leadoff homer of the season. Corey Dickerson followed with a homer as well over the right-field fence to make it 2-0.
“It was early on with the first two games hitting the homers on elevation pitches that were supposed to be down in the zone,” Price said. “It was kind of a precursor to the type of outing it was going to be. It was just a real struggle for him to get the ball down.”
On the heels of his walk-off homer to end the Reds’ 4-3 win over the Rockies on Friday night, Joey Votto took the first pitch from Jordan Lyles and lifted a solo homer toward the left-field corner that cut the deficit in half. The Reds’ only other run scored in the sixth when Ryan Ludwick hit a two-out RBI single that scored Brandon Phillips.
Lyles, who improved to 5-0, finished with two runs and four hits allowed over six innings with four walks and eight strikeouts.
“Today, it’s one of those days that we weren’t our best, including myself because I was behind home plate working with him,” catcher Brayan Pena said. “Everybody knows he’s a sinkerballer. This lineup is a very hot lineup. Those guys can hit. Today, there were pitches that weren’t there. Everything was up a little bit. Everybody knows Simon. He feels very bad about it. He was watching film and talking about how he’s going to regroup for his next start.”
The game became a blowout in the sixth when the struggling J.J. Hoover gave up back-to-back homers with one out, a two-run shot by Dickerson to right field followed by Troy Tulowitzki’s drive to left field. Hoover worked a perfect seventh inning, but his ERA through 13 appearances increased to 10.03 from 9.31.
On Wednesday in his previous outing, Hoover took the loss after he could not retire any of the four batters he faced. Price gave his pitcher a vote of confidence.
“The thing is before these last two outings, he was stellar for the previous three or four,” Price said. “This game is tough mentally. You guys know that as well as anybody. You see how success can run in spurts at times. We stuck with him last year when he started off slowly. It paid dividends for us because he ended up being one of our most reliable relief pitchers for the last five months of the season. I haven’t lost faith in him.”