The Braves and Reds open a four-game series Thursday night, kicking off Atlanta’s lone visit to Cincinnati this season.
For the Reds, the series begins a season-high, 11-game homestand following a grueling three-city, nine-game road trip. Cincinnati began the trek with a three-game sweep in Milwaukee, then lost four straight at San Diego and dropped one at Minnesota before earning a wild 10-7 win over the Twins on Tuesday.
The Braves are coming off a four-game split with the New York Mets to open an eight-game road trip.
An off day Wednesday allowed the Reds to catch their breath after the Tuesday win. Cincinnati scored three in top of the eighth inning to take a 7-2 lead, then gave up five runs to Minnesota in the bottom of the eighth before Tyler Naquin belted a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the ninth.
“I think we (were) all just a little bit gassed after that game,” Reds manager David Bell said. “No matter what, guys just keep playing, keep competing. It’s not always easy to do when you’re playing games like (that) and you stay after it. I hope people notice that. We certainly do. Very happy and proud of our team for approaching it that way.”
The Tuesday game featured the latest meltdown by the Reds bullpen, the same group that blew a 7-0 lead on June 6 in St. Louis and has a 7.84 ERA over the past six games.
“This isn’t an excuse, but it’s a fact: We talk about our team getting a little bit tired,” Bell said. “We’ve asked a lot from our bullpen, and I think it started when we went on that winning streak (from June 11-16). They were doing a good job. And fatigue sets in, it plays a factor.”
Cincinnati will open the series with Tony Santillan (0-1, 4.70), who will make his third major league appearance and start.
In a 6-2 win on June 13 against the Colorado Rockies, the 24-year-old right-hander fell one out shy of qualifying for a win. Santillan gave up one run in 4 2/3 innings.
His Friday outing was not as smooth, as he was tagged for three runs and four hits over three innings as the Reds fell 8-2 to the San Diego Padres.
The Braves arrive in Cincinnati seeking consistency. They are 7-5 in their past 12 games.
Atlanta, coming off back-to-back doubleheaders Sunday and Monday, had yet to announce its probable pitcher for the opener in Cincinnati following a 7-3 loss to the Mets on Wednesday night.
The Braves received a bit of a scare two hours before the Wednesday contest when Ronald Acuna Jr. — the team leader with 20 home runs — was scratched due to lower back tightness. Acuna received treatment for what manager Brian Snitker described as “wear and tear.” Snitker said Acuna is day-to-day and could be back in the lineup as early as Thursday.
“Sometimes, I think, we get in these different hotels and the beds are different,” Snitker said. “It’s just enough that they don’t want him to play. We’ll see how he is (Thursday).”
Another outfielder, Guillermo Heredia, remains day-to-day with right wrist inflammation after getting hurt during the Monday doubleheader in New York.
–Field Level Media