The Cincinnati Reds didn't end the first-half of the 2023 season the way they'd hoped after dropping two of three to the Milwaukee Brewers.
But David Bell's club will have an opportunity for redemption right out of the gates to begin the second half with a three-game set against the Brewers at Great American Ball Park that gets underway on Friday.
The Reds currently lead the Brew Crew by one game in the chase for first-place in the National League Central. In order to get off on the right foot, Bell will need to roll out his top three starters to begin the second-half of the 2023 season. So what will the Reds starting rotation look like?
Predicting the Reds starting rotation coming out of the All-Star break.
Since returning from the injured list, Graham Ashcraft has shown a vast improvement from what had been a horrific seven-game slump. Ashcraft was 1-5 with a 12.72 ERA in seven starts from May 7th through June 8th. Ashcraft took a comebacker off his leg during that early-June start and landed on the IL.
Since his return, Ashcraft has looked much more like himself. In his last three starts, according to FanGraphs, Ashcraft has a ground ball-rate of 50-percent and a 4.32 ERA. After making it just four innings and allowed three round trippers against the Atlanta Braves in his first start back, Ashcraft has gone at least six innings in his last two starts and allowed just two runs while striking out nine.
Andrew Abbott should get his rubber match against the Milwaukee Brewers lineup on Saturday. After dispatching of the Brew Crew during his major league debut, Abbott was tattooed against Craig Counsell's bunch last weekend in the Cream City.
Abbott allowed six runs on nine hits in what was the left-hander's first loss of his rookie season. Abbott, however, was nearly spotless during his first start of the 2023 season, allowing just one hit to the Brewers back on June 5th. Abbott will no doubt be at or near the top of the Reds starting rotation to begin the second-half of the season.
After seeing how well Ben Lively performed against Milwaukee on Sunday, there's almost no way David Bell can justify sitting the right-hander when the Brewers come to town after the All-Star break. Lively struck out five and walked two while allowing just one run on four hits as he pitched into the sixth inning.
Reds starting pitcher
Graham Ashcraft, RHP
Andrew Abbott, LHP
Ben Lively, RHP
Brandon Williamson, LHP
San Francisco Giants
Luke Weaver, RHP
San Francisco Giants
If Cincinnati Reds skipper David Bell runs out the trio of Graham Ashcraft, Andrew Abbott, and Ben Lively to begin the second-half of the season, fans will likely see Brandon Williamson and Ben Lively get the ball for the first two starts of the four-game series against the San Francisco Giants.
The Reds need Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene back in the worst way, as Williamson's first taste of the big leagues has been a bit of a roller coaster ride and Weaver has been downright dreadful of late. Taking two of three from the Brewers to begin the post-All-Star break run is crucial for this Reds team.