The Cincinnati Reds will look to get back on track during their six-game homestand, while the visiting Colorado Rockies are still searching for their first road series win of the season as the two teams meet in a three-game weekend series.
The opener will mark the second game back for Colorado star shortstop Trevor Story, who returned Thursday night in the series finale against the Miami Marlins. Story, who went on the injured list with right elbow inflammation on May 28, has struggled at the plate this season, hitting just .255 with five home runs.
Story started at his customary shortstop spot and batted cleanup for Colorado manager Bud Black. Story went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout in four plate appearances and handled all of his chances in the field cleanly.
Colorado's 11-4 loss to the Marlins Thursday night dropped the Rockies to an MLB-worst 5-24 on the road this season and 0-9-0 in series away from Coors Field.
The two teams split four high-scoring affairs in Denver back in May, with the Rockies winning the first two and Cincinnati rebounding to win the final two. The Reds won, 7-6, in the series finale when they scored six runs over the final two innings.
The Reds start their most consistent pitcher of 2021 when right-hander Tyler Mahle (5-2, 3.32) takes the mound. Mahle has won three straight starts for the first time in his career, posting a 1.04 ERA in that stretch and holding opponents to a .148 batting average.
Mahle matched a career high in innings last Saturday in his most recent outing, throwing seven strong while earning the win in a 5-2 victory over the Cardinals in St. Louis. Mahle allowed just five hits and two earned runs while throwing just 95 pitches over his seven innings.
This will be Mahle's second start of the season against Colorado. On May 15 in Denver, he also threw seven innings, allowing seven hits and two runs in a no-decision as the Reds beat the Rockies, 6-5, in 12 innings.
After Thursday's loss to Milwaukee, Reds manager David Bell announced that reliever Tejay Antone was unavailable during the Brewers series, leading to speculation that he might be facing something longer term that could keep him out of action.
"I'd prefer to wait and talk about Tejay (Friday)," Bell said when asked if the right-handed reliever was dealing with an injury issue.
Antone has been the most effective reliever -- by far -- out of the Cincinnati bullpen, going 1-0 with three saves, a 1.41 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP in 20 appearances. Antone hasn't pitched since throwing a scoreless inning on Sunday in an 8-7 win over the Cardinals.
The Rockies counter with lefty Kyle Freeland (0-1, 6.23), who will be making his fourth start of the season. Freeland, who started the season on the injured list with a left shoulder strain suffered in spring training, is coming off a start last Saturday in Denver against the Oakland A's in which he allowed 10 hits and five runs over five innings in a 6-3 loss.
--Field Level Media