Reds ride hot streak into series vs. Tigers

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati RedsJun 24, 2024; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Carson Spiers (68) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

One step forward followed by a step or two back has been a trend for the Cincinnati Reds this season. They hope to halt that tendency when they host the Detroit Tigers in a three-game set beginning Friday.

The Reds return home fresh off a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees, closing out their road trip with a 5-2 mark. The triumph in the Bronx was preceded by a split against the division rival St. Louis Cardinals. Cincinnati won the first and third games of that series, outscoring the Cardinals 20-8, but were shut out in the second and fourth contests.

“We responded pretty well after that series against St. Louis,” catcher Luke Maile said. “We should have taken more, it felt like. … We had every reason to kind of revert back. I think for us to go three in a row against (the Yankees) says a lot. It’s sort of knocking down that first barrier for us.”

In three of their four series prior to the road trip, the Reds kicked off the set with a win before dropping the final two games.

The current three-game run is the Reds’ longest winning streak since rattling off seven straight from June 2-8. Cincinnati will aim to build on that over the next 10 games, which will all be against sub-.500 clubs (Detroit, the Colorado Rockies and the Miami Marlins) to close out the pre-All-Star break portion of the season.

The Reds will turn to Carson Spiers (2-1, 3.13 ERA) on Friday, with the rookie right-hander set to face Detroit for the first time in his career.

The Tigers arrive in Cincinnati looking to rebound after blowing an early 3-0 lead in a 12-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Thursday in Minneapolis. The game was called in the bottom of the seventh inning due to heavy rain.

Detroit has lost six of its past eight games to fall 8 1/2 games out of the final American League wild-card position.

The series against the Reds closes out Detroit’s 10-game road trip. Opposing parks haven’t been kind to the Tigers, who are 20-26 as the visitors. It’s especially been a struggle of late, as they have dropped 10 of their past 13 road games.

Tigers first baseman/left fielder Mark Canha has struggled over the past two months. The 35-year-old veteran, who hit .278 with a .922 on-base-plus-slugging percentage through the end of April, is batting .197 with a .529 OPS since May 1.

“I’ve gone through it before,” Canha said. “It’s not the first slump I’ve been through, and it won’t be the last. Hopefully it won’t be the last.

“It happens to the best of us. It’s not fun to go through, but I still enjoy the process. I enjoy showing up every day and working on something. It’s a challenge, and it’s a fun challenge.”

Reese Olson (2-8, 3.32 ERA) will take to the mound for the Tigers on Friday. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out seven across six innings of one-run ball in his lone career appearance against Cincinnati, earning a win on Sept. 14, 2023.

–Field Level Media

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