Reds' rookie Romano to face Rockies (Jul 06, 2017)

BY AP • July 6, 2017

DENVER -- Sal Romano will start for the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, confident the results will be better when he faces the Colorado Rockies than they were when he made his major league debut in April.

Romano will be trying to help the Reds split their four-game series with the Rockies, who will send Tyler Chatwood (6-9, 4.41 ERA) to the mound in the series finale.

Romano (0-1, 6.00) faced Milwaukee on April 16 and lost 4-2. He gave up three runs on three hits, two of them homers, and four walks in three innings. He struck out two and threw 82 pitches, and the Brewers optioned him back to Triple-A Louisville after the game.

"The debut's over and done with," Romano, 23, said. "Now it's time to get the job done, give the team a chance to win."

Romano is taking the turn of Jackson Stephens. In his major league debut Saturday against the Chicago Cubs, Stephens gave up six hits and three runs in five innings, walking one and striking out eight as he earned the win in Cincinnati's 5-3 victory.

The Reds decided to option Stephens to Louisville and carry an additional reliever for their series at Coors Field.

An amped-up Romano was overthrowing and hit 97-98 mph against the Brewers, not that surprising considering he was making his big league debut.

Price said, "I would anticipate that Sal will be a lot more composed and just ready to pitch to his strengths this next time."

Romano is 1-3 with a 3.06 ERA in nine starts at Louisville. From April 27 to June 2, he was on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder. Romano has since found his footing -- but not with ease.

He lasted one inning June 17 and gave up three hits, five walks and five runs while throwing 51 pitches. But in his last Triple-A outing Thursday, a 3-1 loss at Norfolk, Romano needed just 89 pitches to work eight innings and got 15 ground-ball outs. Romano said his curveball is his second-best pitch, but his changeup made the difference in that game.

"I was able to get early swings in the count," Romano said. "My sinker was working really well, but I think most importantly my changeup. I used my changeup a lot. I got a lot of ground-ball outs early in the count on lefties, using my changeup back to back, which is something I normally don't do.

"I was able to get the guys off my fastball. I think that was most important. Got early swings in the count and was able to go the whole eight innings."

Chatwood is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in three career starts against the Reds and will face them for the first time this season.

Rockies closer Greg Holland put three runners on base in the ninth Wednesday but got a double play and eased out of trouble to earn his 28th save in 29 chances and seal Colorado's 5-3 win.

It was just the third win in 14 games for the Rockies (50-37), who are trying to put their recent slide -- most of it in a 1-8 road trip -- behind them and avoid any lingering psychological harm.

"It's an emotional game," Holland said. "You want to win. All these guys are highly competitive. So, when you lose, you get frustrated. And that's the hardest thing to learn is to get frustrated, but you have to have some sort of way, whether it's going home and your kid jumps on you and you forget about it that way or it's waking up the next morning, looking in the mirror and saying, 'OK, we've got a game today.'

"Realizing you play a lot of games and you're going to lose some, quite a few actually -- it's a fine line, but I think we've got a good group of guys in here that understand that."

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