The Cincinnati Reds will try to snap a five-game losing streak when they continue their series with the host St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
"I'm keeping a close eye on things," Reds manager David Bell said. "It's a very healthy environment. We're going out every night trying to win a ballgame. There are times when it feels like you are in a losing streak, even when you're not. It doesn't feel like that at all."
The Reds lost 5-4 Friday night in the opener of the three-game set. They rallied from a 5-0 deficit but fell just short in the ninth inning.
They will turn to starting pitcher Wade Miley (2-1, 2.25 ERA) Saturday. He threw 11 scoreless innings in his first two starts, then allowed four runs on five hits -- including two homers -- during a 6-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians April 18.
"For the most part, Wade did pitch well," Bell said. "He kept them off-balance, had a pretty good cutter, maybe not quite as good as the last couple of times out, but definitely good enough. Really good changeup, continues to pitch well. He's confident, working fast, the whole thing."
The left-hander lost his only start against the Cardinals last season while allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings. Miley is 3-4 with a 4.03 ERA in eight career starts against them.
Nolan Arenado (6-for-16, double, two RBIs), Paul Goldschmidt (4-for-8, double, two walks), Tommy Edman (3-for-6, two RBIs) and Yadier Molina (4-for-13, homer) have hit Miley well during their careers.
Miley's mound opponent will be John Gant (0-2, 3.21 ERA). He has walked 11 batters while working just 14 innings in this three starts this season.
"Obviously, that's not our game plan as starting pitchers," Gant said. "We are trying to throw nine every time we go out there."
Gant made four relief appearances against the Reds last season and allowed one run on one hit and two walks in two innings. This will be his first career start against them.
He is 4-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 18 career relief appearances against the Reds. Gant has fared well against Eugenio Suarez (0-for-9, four strikeouts), Jesse Winker (1-for-7) and Tucker Barnhart (1-for-6) over the years.
The Cardinals expect to get outfielder Tyler O'Neill back into the lineup for this game. He came off the injured list Friday after recovering from his groin strain and he entered as a midgame replacement.
O'Neill hit .356 with a .939 OPS during spring training, but he went 4-for-28 in regular season games before getting hurt.
"Good player, a lot of different skill sets," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "So we're pleased to get all that back. He did some damage in that alternate site, so I know he's ready to get back and do some damage."
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina exited Friday night's game with foot soreness and is questionable for Saturday.
"Obviously, we're extremely hopeful,' Shildt said after the game. "He's getting imaging this evening. We'll have a better idea of what that looks like tomorrow."
The Reds promoted reliever Ryan Hendrix and Heath Hembree for this series and demoted infielder Max Schrock and reliever Cionel Perez. Both Hendrix and Hembree pitched in relief Friday night.
--Field Level Media