It's been feast or famine as of late for the Cincinnati Reds, who host the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night in the second game of their three-game series
On Monday night, Kevin Newman homered and had three hits and TJ Friedl drove in four runs in Cincinnati's 8-1 win over the Rays. In their last three wins, the Reds have outscored their opponents 27-3
In their two most recent losses, they've been outscored 22-6.
On Sunday, Cincinnati starter Luis Cessa was tagged for nine runs on eight hits in the first inning.
"That's a tough inning," Reds manager David Bell said. "I know (Cessa) has been doing this for a long time. Every player goes through days like that, but it's tough because these guys are trying to perform for their team. They are trying to perform for themselves and their family. You have an inning like that, it's hard to swallow.
One Cincinnati pitcher that hasn't struggled this season is Tuesday's starter, Nick Lodolo (2-0, 2.12 ERA). The lefty has pitched like the club's ace this season, allowing four runs over 17 innings in three starts, striking out 27 and walking six. Lodolo's two wins have come in his two starts at Great American Ball Park.
Last year, Lodolo helped the Reds complete a three-game sweep of the Rays in Cincinnati when he allowed three runs on nine hits in five innings in a 10-5 win on July 10
The Rays counter with right-hander Taj Bradley (1-0, 5.40) in the middle game of the series. Bradley, the top pitching prospect in the Tampa Bay organization according to MLB Pipeline, is making his second career start and appearance
In his major league debut last Wednesday against Boston, Bradley picked up the win, allowing three runs and five hits over five innings while walking one and fanning eight.
"Excited to have him here. He had a great debut," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "If he can mirror what he did (in his debut), I think we'll take that.
The Rays were hoping to let Bradley develop more at Triple-A Durham, but following injuries to pitchers Zach Eflin (back) and Jeffrey Springs (left elbow), Bradley was added to the taxi squad Monday. He will be added to the active roster Tuesday in time to make the start in Cincinnati
The Rays also promoted right-hander Cooper Criswell from Durham on Monday to add an arm to their bullpen, and he was put to work right away. He surrendered four runs on four hits in four innings of relief. He struck out seven
The Reds received a scare in the third inning Monday when Hunter Greene was hit in the right shin by a grounder off the bat of Yandy Diaz. He finished the inning but was removed from the game before the fourth. He was diagnosed with a bruise, but X-rays were negative
Bell said Monday that third baseman Spencer Steer is day-to-day after an MRI revealed no serious injury to his right knee after he fell on it diving for a grounder in the ninth inning Sunday.
Steer said Monday he hopes to be ready to return to the lineup by Wednesday's series finale with Tampa Bay. Nick Senzel started in his place Monday at third base.
--Field Level Media