After appreciating his excellent big-league debut, the Cincinnati Reds will see what rookie pitcher Andrew Abbott can do for an encore.
Abbott (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will face the host Cardinals on Saturday in the middle game of a three-game series. He threw six scoreless innings on one hit and four walks during a 2-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.
"It probably took him until the second or third to really settle in, and once he did that, he was really in command the rest of the game and used all his pitches," Reds manager David Bell said.
Abbott threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of the 23 batters he faced. He kept the Brewers off balance with a four-pitch mix, and he reached 95 mph with his fastball while striking out six batters.
"I felt really good, honestly, too," Abbott said. "I had another day of rest because I was supposed to go Sunday (for Triple-A Louisville). Just seeing the crowd, taking it all in, stuff definitely gets your adrenaline pumping so you throw a little bit harder than normal."
The Cardinals opened the series with a 7-4 victory Friday night for their second straight victory. The Reds lost their second straight game.
St. Louis will start Miles Mikolas (4-2, 3.74 ERA), who has allowed three runs or fewer in 10 straight starts and two earned runs or fewer in seven of them.
Mikolas took a 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh in his last start. He allowed the two runs on 10 hits in five innings but fell victim to his team's recent power outage.
"Once we right the ship, we have to hope we're not too far back," Mikolas said. "Hate to rely on another 17-game winning streak to get into the playoffs. That's always a possibility with players of this caliber. For the people out there getting upset -- that's understandable. I wouldn't count us out.
"It's time to see who wants it, who wants to step up and be a leader and start getting the job done."
Mikolas won his previous start against the Reds 2-1 at Cincinnati on May 25. He blanked the Reds for seven innings on five hits while striking out five and walking nobody.
He is 4-5 with a 5.02 ERA in 17 career appearances against the Reds, including 15 starts.
The Reds adjusted their pitching staff for this series. They recalled Ricky Karcher and Joel Kuhnel from Triple-A Louisville, optioned Eduardo Salazar to Louisville, and put Graham Ashcraft (left calf contusion) on the 15-day injured list.
"I want to see how (Karcher) does here because he has major league stuff," Bell said. "Sometimes certain players will step up at this level and just be better here."
Cincinnati is also expected to activate outfielder TJ Friedl (left hamstring strain) in time for Saturday's game.
The Cardinals activated outfielder Dylan Carlson from the injured list as expected Friday and optioned Juan Yepez to Triple-A Memphis. Carlson was 0-for-2 with two walks in the opener.
"Never a good time to get injured. Glad the process is over," Carlson told Bally Sports Midwest. "It's a long, tedious process. Just put that behind me, keep moving forward and get back to playing some baseball."
--Field Level Media