The Cincinnati Reds will look for more strong starting pitching when they aim for their third straight win over the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
Rookie Reds starters Hunter Greene and Graham Ashcraft combined for 13 consecutive shutout innings as Cincinnati captured the first two games of the four-game series.
Greene fired seven one-hit innings in a rain-shortened, 7-0 win on Monday. Ashcraft followed with six scoreless frames in Cincinnati’s 14-8 victory on Tuesday.
With eight runs in the final two innings of the latest defeat, the Diamondbacks snapped an offensive drought of 26 innings, dating back to the sixth inning of a 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The Diamondbacks will give the ball to Merrill Kelly (4-3, 3.66 ERA) on Wednesday. The right-hander held the Pirates to three runs, two earned, over five innings on Friday, earning an 8-6 win.
Kelly is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts against Cincinnati, allowing just three runs over 12 innings in those appearances. Kelly did not factor in the decision in his latest start against the Reds, on April 21, 2021 in Cincinnati, when he allowed three runs in five innings.
The Reds will counter with Mike Minor (0-1, 11.25 ERA). The left-hander will be making his second start since missing the season’s first two months due to left shoulder soreness. Minor was roughed up by the Washington Nationals on Friday. He surrendered five runs on six hits — including three home runs — over just four innings, taking an 8-5 loss.
Minor is 2-0 with two saves and a 1.52 ERA in five career appearances (three starts) against the Diamondbacks. The 34-year-old veteran has 21 strikeouts and five walks in 23 2/3 innings against Arizona.
Reds manager David Bell said Tuesday that right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez is expect to miss three to six weeks with right forearm soreness following an MRI. Gutierrez reported tightness in his forearm following a one-inning relief appearance vs. the Nationals on Friday. The MRI revealed a Grade 1 ulnar collateral ligament sprain but no serious injury, according to Bell.
“Guty is going to be no-throw for two weeks and then built back up,” Bell said. “I heard from Guty and he was thrilled it wasn’t something worse. It’ll be tough not having him for about a month, but in the big picture, it’s really good news.”
The Diamondbacks got some good news Tuesday night when Pavin Smith drilled a Graham Ashcraft 98 mph cut fastball to left for a fourth-inning single. It snapped a string of 30 consecutive Arizona batters retired dating back to a leadoff bunt single Monday night. But even the streak-ending play finished poorly for Arizona, as Smith was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit to a double.
“I think it compounds itself, because one guy and then the next will try to do too much to be the one that’s going to get this thing to turn around,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “But it’s not a one-guy train, it’s a nine-man train. …
“From what it looks like, they’re trying to do too much pull-side damage. We’re not a pull-side team, and I just think we need to (let the ball travel) and see it and get it into that area (of the strike zone) where we can do the damage, and that’s in the middle of the middle of the field.”
Arizona trailed 9-0 before finally ending its scoreless streak on Geraldo Perdomo’s eighth-inning grand slam. Ketel Marte added a homer in the eighth, and the Diamondbacks scored three more in the ninth.
–Field Level Media