The Cincinnati Reds will look for ways to piece together a bullpen and continue their winning ways on Sunday when they close out a four-game weekend series with the visiting Atlanta Braves.
Tejay Antone joined fellow reliever Lucas Sims on the 10-day injured list before Saturday’s game. For Antone, it’s his second stint on the IL in a month due to right forearm soreness.
“The only reason it would be longer, he’s gone on the IL for the second time in a month,” Reds manager David Bell said. “And with the All-Star break coming up, it could be slightly longer. I don’t anticipate it being much longer than that. It’s something I think he can come back from.”
The Reds bullpen, which entered Saturday’s game with the worst ERA in baseball at 5.61, has managed to piece things together with the likes of Brad Brach, Amir Garrett, Heath Hembree and Ryan Hendrix.
Both Brach and Garrett pitched an inning of relief of Luis Castillo in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Braves, giving the Reds wins in two of the first three games of the series. Brach and Garrett each have a save so far in the series.
The Reds appeared to escape an injury scare Saturday when Jesse Winker left with a right hip contusion. Winker, who hit his first homer in nearly three weeks and team-leading 18th in the first inning, said he was fine after the game and doesn’t expect to miss any time.
The Reds will start Tyler Mahle (7-2, 3.56 ERA) in the finale. With Castillo struggling in the first two months and Sonny Gray injured, Mahle emerged as the Reds most effective starting pitcher.
With seven wins, Mahle has already matched his single-season career high when he went 7-9 in 2018. Mahle also ranks fifth in the National League in strikeouts per nine innings (11.26).
Mahle is 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in two career starts against Atlanta.
The Reds have enjoyed season-best crowds on consecutive nights at Great American Ball Park this series, including a crowd of 34,671 on Saturday.
“It’s amazing,” Reds second baseman Jonathan India told Reds TV postgame. “This stadium is electric right now.”
Kyle Muller (0-1, 5.40) is making his second start of the season for Atlanta. The Braves decided to go with a spot starter to give two extra days of rest to Charlie Morton, who will start Tuesday against the New York Mets.
In Monday’s 4-2 win over the Mets, Muller earned a no decision after allowing one run on one hit in four innings. He struck out three and walked two.
The Braves have scored three or fewer runs in nine straight games and have just 16 runs over their last seven, with 13 of those coming via the home run. Saturday’s 4-1 loss ended a seven-game streak with at least one home run.
The Braves received more bad injury news before Saturday’s game when manager Brian Snitker announced that right-hander Mike Soroka reinjured his surgically repaired right Achilles tendon, ending his 2021 bid to return this year. Snitker said Soroka was walking into the home clubhouse at Truist Park on Thursday when he suffered the injury, re-tearing the Achilles first torn on Aug. 3, 2020.
“I hate it for him,” Snitker said. “He’s such a dedicated young man and wants nothing more than to be able to get out there and compete. He’ll do whatever he has to do.”
Soroka is expected to undergo surgery next week, with a timetable determined later.
–Field Level Media