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Jun 5, 2024 2:51 am

Offense, pitching put Reds in position to sweep Rockies

Reds, Rockies

Coors Field is historically a hitter’s park, but the Cincinnati Reds pitchers are putting that reputation to the test in their only visit to Denver this season.

Cincinnati has won the first two of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies by a combined 17-4 count and will go for the sweep Wednesday afternoon.

The Reds will send Graham Ashcraft (4-3, 4.76 ERA) to the mound while Colorado will counter with Dakota Hudson (2-7, 5.02).

Cincinnati dominated the first two games, winning 13-3 on Monday night, then 4-1 on Tuesday night when Frankie Montas took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. The Reds pounded out 30 hits the past two nights.

One of the Cincinnati players benefitting from hitting in the thin air is 22-year-old shortstop Elly De La Cruz. He had an RBI double on Monday night to end an 0-for-16 skid and blasted his 10th home run of the season 24 hours later.

It’s a good sign for De La Cruz, who was batting .182 over his past 35 games entering the series in Colorado.

“This game is about confidence,” teammate Jeimer Candelario said. “We all know that sometimes our confidence goes a little on the side, but we have to work really hard and try to (retain) it. Right now, everybody has ups and downs. You have to keep working hard. If you can hit, you’re going to hit.”

Ashcraft will try to keep the Rockies from heating up at the plate in his second career start against them. On May 17, 2023, in Denver, he allowed seven runs on 10 hits over five-plus innings to take an 11-6 loss.

If the Rockies are going to end their four-game skid, they need to take better at-bats. They struck out 12 times on Tuesday and finished with just three hits, two of which came with two outs in the ninth to produce their only run.

The lack of offense has been a trend for Colorado, which has managed five total runs during the losing streak.

“These four games we haven’t swung the bats great and we’ve pitched good enough to hang in there, except for (Monday) night,” Rockies manager Bud Black said Tuesday night. “It’s a little bit of a mini bad stretch, and we’ve got to come out of it.”

It isn’t the first time Colorado has struggled to score. The Rockies were shut out twice in a three-game span in mid-April and have been blanked seven times this season. Brendan Rodgers’ RBI double in the ninth inning prevented another shutout on Tuesday.

Colorado has been blown out in only one of the past four games, which is a credit to a pitching staff that has been relatively solid.

Hudson tossed a season-high seven innings and gave up just one run in a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

“It honestly feels like a simplified approach, but we all have each other’s backs,” Hudson said of the Rockies’ pitching staff. “We’re trying to make adjustments and there is a lot of communication going on behind closed doors. So it’s a lot of fun.”

In 12 career appearances (11 starts) against the Reds, the 29-year-old right-hander is 7-2 with a 3.06 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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