The day after one of the most anticipated major league debuts of the season, the Cincinnati Reds look to return to some normalcy on Wednesday when they host the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second game of a three-game series.
Top Reds prospect Elly De La Cruz received cheers in batting practice anda standing ovation when he came to the plate for his first at-bat on Tuesday. The 21-year-old infielder wound up going 1-for-3 with two walks in Cincinnati's dramatic 9-8 win over Los Angeles.
"I'm really just looking forward to playing for the city," De La Cruz said, via team translator Jorge Merlos. "I knew this day was going to come and it didn't mean that I was going to be worried about it or anything like that. I was just enjoying the moment while I was in Louisville.
"I'm really excited to be here and now I'm ready to help this team."
De La Cruz started at third base for the injured Nick Senzel and batted cleanup. He earned the promotion to the majors by batting .298 with 12 home runs, 36 RBIs and 11 steals in 38 games at Triple-A Louisville.
"Sure, those numbers are great and being a number one prospect and things of that nature, but you can't just stop there because you're just the number one prospect," De La Cruz said.
Reds manager David Bell added, "We know what kind of player Elly is. He's swinging the bat well, and we think it's a fit. Obviously, there's comfort in Elly's ability. We believe he's ready."
The Reds will start rookie left-hander Brandon Williamson (0-0, 4.29 ERA) on Wednesday. Williamson, in his fourth major league start, held the Milwaukee Brewers to three runs, two earned, on five hits over 6 2/3 innings on Friday.
Los Angeles will counter with right-hander Noah Syndergaard (1-4, 6.54 ERA). His first season with the Dodgers has been a rough one to date, as he has won just once in 11 starts.
In his career against the Reds, Syndergaard is 7-0 with a 2.22 ERA, 55 strikeouts and eight walks in 56 2/3 innings over eight starts. He went 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts vs. Cincinnati last year while pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Dodgers, who have lost three in a row, are expected to showcase one of their own prospects on Wednesday, with Jonny DeLuca due to debut in the outfield. The rookie, called up Sunday from Triple-A Oklahoma City, takes the place of Trayce Thompson, who was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a left oblique strain.
"It happens so quick," DeLuca said. "Everyone here says it happens super quick, but you don't really believe it until it's actually there. So yeah, just trying to stay consistent every day. A lot of things are out of my control, so just doing my best on the field. And sometimes things like this happen."
DeLuca, 24, earned his promotion by hitting 14 homers in 49 games between Double-A Tulsa and Oklahoma City. He batted .315 with four homers in 17 games after being promoted to Triple-A.
--Field Level Media