Cincinnati Reds (61-61) vs. Colorado Rockies (47-75)
RHP Dylan Axelrod (8-8, 4.09 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 7.3 K/9 IP) at Triple-A Charlotte & Louisville vs. RHP Jordan Lyles (6-1, 3.70 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, .247 OAV)
Saturday, August 16, 2014: 8:10 p.m. at Coors Field
Making his Cincinnati Reds debut in place of the injured Homer Bailey, Axelrod, who has made five starts at Triple-A Louisville since being acquired by the organization, gets the ball on Saturday.
Having staked his claim as a member of the Chicago White Sox for the entirety of his Major League career, this will be Axelrod’s first experience pitching for anyone but them. His 2013 season did not exactly go according to plan, finishing with a 4-11 record with a 5.68 ERA in just 20 starts. Allowing an astronomical 170 hits in just 128.1 innings of work, the White Sox lost their admiration for their prospect after a lackluster start at Triple-A to start the year.
The onset of the game has proven difficult for Axelrod, who is allowing an opponent’s batting average of .331 through his first two dozen pitches. Batters have also clubbed 13 home runs in that timeframe, which is almost half of his career home runs allowed.
With the disabling of Bailey and the continued struggles of Alfredo Simon, Axelrod will have the opportunity to make himself a staple of the rotation for a playoff contending team down the stretch. For him, it starts Saturday night in Colorado, easily the worst place for any pitcher to perform his craft.
Here is the lineup he will be facing via the team’s Twitter account:
CF – Charlie Blackmon (yet to face Axelrod)
RF – Michael Cuddyer (yet to face Axelrod)
1B – Justin Morneau (5-for-8, 2 2B’s, 1 BB)
3B – Nolan Arenado (yet to face Axelrod)
LF – Corey Dickerson (yet to face Axelrod)
C – Michael McKenry (yet to face Axelrod)
SS – Josh Rutledge (yet to face Axelrod)
2B – Charlie Culberson (yet to face Axelrod)
P – Jordan Lyles (yet to face Axelrod)
A former first-round pick by the Houston Astros in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, Lyles has seemingly finally found his niche in Colorado. Mired with numbers that resemble his predecessor on Saturday, Lyles was unable to live up to the immense amount of hype he had produced coming out of the University of Oklahoma.
It was earlier this year back on May 10 that Lyles moved to 5-0, reaping the benefits of his offense decimating Alfredo Simon. Pitching six innings and allowing only two earned runs while walking four and striking out eight, Lyles will look for more of the same against an injury-ravaged Reds lineup.
In seven career starts at Coors Field, Lyles has found himself on the losing end only once, which was earlier this season against the not-so-mighty San Diego Padres. Against the Reds in his career, Lyles has made five starts, which has been good for a record of 3-1 with a 5.22 ERA.
Here is the lineup he will face via the team’s Twitter account:
CF – Billy Hamilton (0-for-1)
3B – Kristopher Negron (yet to face Lyles)
RF – Jay Bruce (2-for-11, 1 HR, 5 RBI)
C – Devin Mesoraco (0-for-2)
LF – Ryan Ludwick (1-for-5, 1 RBI, 2 BB’s, 2 K’s)
1B – Brayan Pena (1-for-5, 1 RBI)
2B – Skip Schumaker (1-for-3, 1 K)
SS – Zack Cozart (5-for-9, 2 2B’s, 1 HR, 6 RBI)
P – Dylan Axelrod (yet to face Lyles)
Having climbed back to the .500 mark once again, the Reds do not have much room for error with only 40 games remaining. Should they desire to make a serious push towards either the National League Central Division crown or one of the two Wild Card slots, there can be no more trip wires befuddling them, no more falling below .500, and no more excuses. This club has to win, and win immediately should they continue to stay in the hunt for their third consecutive Red October.