Although he was the Home Run Derby champ and is among the major league longball leaders, Todd Frazier had gone a long time without hitting one in a game until the Cincinnati Reds’ series opener against the Chicago Cubs.
With that drought over, Frazier will try to lead the Reds to another victory over their NL Central rivals Tuesday night and keep highly touted Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber winless in his return to Cincinnati.
After being left out of the starting lineup Sunday, Frazier snapped a 15-game homerless streak with one of Cincinnati’s trio of two-out longballs in a 5-4 victory Monday. His 26th home run of the season also ended an 0-for-10 slump since the All-Star break.
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"I wasn’t feeling right. The day off helped me a lot," said Frazier, who won the Derby at Great American Ball Park last Monday. "I didn’t change nothing; I was just swinging at bad pitches. But it’s a new week."
Jay Bruce had the go-ahead two-run shot in the sixth, and the Reds (41-49) got a sparkling defensive play from second baseman Brandon Phillips in just their third win in 10 games this season against the Cubs (49-42).
Schwarber, meanwhile, went 1 for 4 and scored a run in the first of at least three starts in this four-game series. He grew up about 40 miles away from Cincinnati in Middletown, Ohio, and was MVP of the Futures Game during the All-Star festivities there.
The 22-year-old catcher is batting .375 in 10 games with Chicago.
Schwarber could be behind the plate for Jason Hammel (5-4, 2.86 ERA), who hasn’t pitched since an abbreviated start July 8. He was limited to one inning in a 6-5 loss to St. Louis because of tightness in his hamstring, and he’s expected to wear a brace in this game.
Hammel said he didn’t experience any issues in a side session Saturday.
"It’s probably as close to normal as it could’ve been," he told MLB’s official website.
The right-hander has failed to make it past the fifth inning in four of his last six starts, beginning with his lone matchup against Cincinnati this season. He allowed four runs – two earned – in five innings in a 5-4, 10-inning loss June 12.
Hammel is 0-1 with a 5.34 ERA in five career starts against the Reds.
Raisel Iglesias (1-2, 5.90) will make his first start versus Chicago and second overall since returning from the disabled list (strained left oblique) on July 11. He tossed four scoreless innings against Miami but didn’t make it out of the fifth and was charged with five runs in a 14-3 drubbing.
Bruce is batting .423 with three homers and three doubles in his last seven games. He’s 4 for 28 in his past eight against the Cubs despite Monday’s 2-for-4 performance and is 3 for 10 with a home run lifetime against Hammel.
Frazier has hit .321 with three homers and four doubles in his last seven games against Chicago, and he doubled and homered off Hammel last month. Joey Votto, batting .400 in his past 10 games, has batted .185 in his last eight against the Cubs and is 2 for 14 against Hammel.