Reds starter Brandon Williamson needs Herculean effort with Graham Ashcraft nearing return

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Williamson
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Williamson / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Cincinnati Reds left-hander Brandon Williamson has performed admirably since making his major league debut last month, but Monday's start against the Colorado Rockies may be his last for a little while.

Williamson, whose first outing was against the same Rockies team who will visit Great American Ball Park on Monday night, has seen his share of struggles recently.

There were whispers of an opener scheduled to take the ball for Monday's game, but instead, Williamson will get the start. However, with Graham Ashcraft nearing a return, Williamson will need a Herculean effort in order to stay on the active roster.

Reds starter Brandon Williamson needs Herculean effort with Graham Ashcraft nearing return.

Brandon Williamson's first four starts saw the left-hander go 21 innings while striking out 18 batters and allowing 12 runs on 17 hits. However, the biggest issue for Williamson, really since he arrived in the Reds organization, has been his command and control.

Williamson suffered through several contests at Triple-A this season where the southpaw walked three or more batters in six innings or less. Williamson's walk-rate with the Louisville Bats this season was 12.1-percent.

Fast forward to Williamson's brief foray into Major League Baseball and the free passes are still a big problem. According to FanGraphs, Williamson is allowing 3.69 walks per nine innings and has a walk-rate of 9.4-percent.

While Graham Ashcraft has had his fair share of challenges this season as well, the right-hander showed signs of improvement in his last start before taking a comebacker off his leg. A lower leg contusion landed Ahscraft on the IL, but the second-year hurler could return to the Reds starting rotation as soon as this weekend against the Atlanta Braves.

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Once Ashcraft is deemed healthy enough to return the active roster, it's very likely that one of the pitchers currently in the Cincinnati rotation heads back down I-71 to Louisville. While Ben Lively could receive some consideration as well, the most likely candidate is Brandon Williamson.

Williamson has a chance to prove that he belongs. During his major league debut agains the Colorado Rockies, Williamson allowed just one run on two hits while striking out six batters in Coors Field. The lefty will need a similar performance tonight to extend his stay on the major league roster.

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