Garcia goes for most wins against Reds among active pitchers
CINCINNATI -- Alfredo Simon wasn't on the Cincinnati Reds' radar as a potential acquisition this past offseason until injuries hit several members of their starting rotation during spring training. The Reds took a flyer on the 35-year old Simon hoping he would log innings until their young starters returned.
It hasn't worked out very well. Simon is averaging fewer than five innings per start and owns an 8.94 ERA through 10 outings. In April, he averaged fewer than two innings per start, including a one-inning stint on April 15 at Busch Stadium when the Cardinals scored four runs, including a pair of homers.
Simon gets a chance to atone for that dismal performance when Cincinnati faces St. Louis in the second game of a three-game set on Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park. A victory would give the Reds only their fourth series win over the Cardinals in the past 11 played in Cincinnati.
"We need (more) innings out of Simon as a veteran pitcher, and that will happen when he keeps his pitches down," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "At some point in time, I have to see him improve and give us those types of innings. He's going to have to get better."
Simon was better in his last outing Thursday at Colorado, lasting seven innings with four earned runs and plenty of offensive support in an 11-4 win.
Opposing Simon on Wednesday night will be Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia, whose 10 victories against Cincinnati are tied with Oliver Perez for most among active pitchers.
Garcia is 10-4 with a 3.50 ERA against the Reds over 19 appearances, including 17 starts.
In the last 21 series against St. Louis, the Reds have gone 7-14, including a 3-7 mark in the last 10 series played at Great American Ball Park.
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But Cincinnati (22-36) has a leg up in this series after winning 7-6 on first baseman Joey Votto's walk-off homer in the ninth. The Cardinals rallied from a 6-1 deficit to tie the score in the ninth, setting up Votto's heroics.
The Reds have won seven of 10 games and five of six since snapping an 11-game losing streak.
"We're in a really good spot right now," Price said. "We're swinging the bats and the starting pitching has been there every night."
The Cardinals' (30-28) offense got a boost Tuesday when Jhonny Peralta returned from the disabled list and went 2 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Peralta started at third base Tuesday and could make his 215th appearance there Wednesday.
"We know what he has the potential to do," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Peralta. "He's a guy who just goes about his business. He's a consistent presence. We enjoy having him on this team."
Cincinnati is batting .319 on the current homestand and .371 with runners in scoring position.
"Things are going well right now," Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton said. "We just got to keep rolling tomorrow."