Sonny Gray is looking for a change of fortune and his first win of 2021 when he takes the mound Monday night for the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a four-game series with the visiting San Francisco Giants.
In his last start, which came Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Gray (0-2, 3.55 ERA) became the first Reds pitcher in the modern era to throw four wild pitches in a game. He also allowed seven hits, snapping his streak of consecutive regular season starts with six or fewer hits allowed at 48.
Gray, who began the season on the injured list with back soreness, yielded just one run in 4 2/3 innings before being pulled from a game that the Reds eventually won, 5-1, in 10 innings.
“I felt good,” said Gray, who stranded six Pirates thanks to five strikeouts. “It was just kind of one of those days. There was constantly motion on the bases. You’re just trying to make a pitch.”
The Giants counter with right-hander Logan Webb (2-3, 4.74). Filling in for an injured Aaron Sanchez, Webb struck out a career-high 10 over six-plus innings to help the Giants beat the visiting Texas Rangers, 4-2, on Tuesday.
Webb, 24, became the youngest Giants pitcher to register a double-digit-strikeout game since Madison Bumgarner on Sept. 19, 2013, and lowered his ERA to 4.74 after recording his third quality start in his past four outings.
“I thought Webby did a fine job,” Giants skipper Gabe Kapler said. “I’m certainly satisfied with the results. I’m certainly satisfied with the line. Very impressive strikeout total. I’m just going to stay with this messaging: There’s even more in there. He can be around the plate a little bit more. He can attack the strike zone and get ahead in more counts.
“This is what excites us about Logan Webb. We’re not going to be satisfied until we see his best, and I don’t think we’ve seen it yet.”
The Reds flew back Sunday on the wings of a dramatic 7-6 comeback win over the Colorado Rockies in Denver, a game they trailed 6-1 heading into the eighth inning, before scoring four in the eighth, and then two in the ninth with two outs, earning them a split of the four-game series.
“We have to take this into the next week coming up,” said Tucker Barnhart, who scored the tying run.
Now back at .500 (19-19), the Reds hope a return to their friendly confines will mean a continued rise in the National League Central as they open a seven-game homestand Monday night against the leaders of the NL West.
The two clubs met in mid-April in San Francisco, with the Giants taking two of three. The two wins in that series sparked the Giants on a run in which they won eight of their next 14 games to ascend the National League’s West Division standings.
The Giants continued that momentum in May, winning seven of their first 11 games and opening up a 2.5-game lead before losing the middle two games of their four-game set in Pittsburgh over the weekend. The Giants earned a split of the series with a 4-1 win on Sunday.
Beginning with the 2008 season, the Reds are 49-34 (.590) against San Francisco during the regular season, the best winning percentage of any Giants opponent in that span (minimum 50 games).
–Field Level Media