The Cincinnati Reds got a much needed clutch hit by their best player last night to take the opener of a big weekend set aganist the Colorado Rockies. Tonight’s pitching match up will be Jordan Lyles for the Rockies and Alfredo Simon for Cincinnati
Lyles has been a pleasant surprise this season for Colorado, and same with Simon as he looks to deal the Rockies a third straight defeat Saturday night.
Lyles (4-0, 2.62 ERA) was largely disappointing through his first three seasons in the majors, going 22-50 with a 5.35 ERA with Houston, but he’s been outstanding since Colorado acquired him in a four-player trade in December.
The 23-year-old right-hander owns the rotation’s lowest ERA and WHIP (1.05) while leading the team with 44 2-3 innings.
He’ll now face the Reds for the first time this year, and he’s 2-1 with a 5.79 ERA in five games against them, including four starts. He was pummeled for nine runs in 3 1-3 innings of a 10-0 loss against them Sept. 17.
Lyles’ success has been just as unexpected as that of Simon (4-1, 1.99), who spent his first two years with the Reds as a reliever.
The right-hander went 3-9 with a 5.15 ERA in 19 starts with Baltimore from 2008-11 before Cincinnati inserted him into the rotation this year. So far, he’s been superb with the team’s second-best ERA among its starters behind Johnny Cueto’s MLB-best 1.43.
Simon has also completed at least six innings in each of his six outings and is 3-0 over his past four. He tossed just 80 pitches while going seven innings Sunday, allowing three runs and two homers in a 4-3 win in 10 against Milwaukee.
Simon is now scheduled to get his first start against the Rockies, and he has no record while allowing three runs in 7 2-3 innings over five relief outings against them.
He’ll also try to keep Nolan Arenado without a hit for a second straight game after he was 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout Friday, ending his team-record 28-game hitting streak – the longest in the majors this year.
The third baseman, who is 1 for 9 over his last three meetings with the Reds, had a .360 average with 11 doubles and 20 RBIs during the streak.
Joey Votto may be hoping he’s snapped out of his recent funk after connecting for Friday’s game-winning shot, ending an 18-game homer drought. It was also the first baseman’s only RBI during an eight-game stretch in which he’s gone 7 for 33 (.212).
Votto, though, is 6 for 9 with two doubles and a homer off Lyles.
First pitch is at 7:10pm, TV: FSN OHIO, RADIO: 700 WLW.
Reds manager Bryan Price said that closer Aroldis Chapman could be activated from the disabled list today, after two months on March 19, when he was hit by a line drive on the mounnd, during a Spring Training game.