Reds host Rockies, look to shed home woes

Home hasn’t offered much comfort for the Cincinnati Reds lately.

After being swept by the Detroit Tigers to open a 10-game homestand leading into the All-Star break, the Reds have lost five straight at home and nine of their past 12 as the hosts.

It’s a slide they’ll look to halt when they open a four-game set against the visiting Colorado Rockies on Monday night.

“It was a tough weekend for us, there’s no question about it,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “Now we regroup and figure out how to get going again as quick as we can. … We’ve got to figure out how to get our energy back and continue to do the things that we do well, and focus on that.”

Getting their bats going early was an issue in the series against Detroit. The Reds had only one hit through five innings on Sunday and just two through six. Both were lead-off hits before the next three batters went down in order.

On Saturday, Cincinnati had one hit through four innings, and in the opener on Friday, the Reds didn’t get their first hit until the fifth.

“That’s been the most important thing this year, getting the bats going,” infielder Santiago Espinal said. “Especially me.”

Espinal is hitting a career-low .183 this year after batting .273 over his first four MLB seasons. He’s 0-for-17 in his past seven games and has just two hits over his last 33 at-bats.

The bullpen also struggled to keep the games in check in the late innings. Cincinnati trailed 1-0 after six innings on Sunday before Detroit blew the game open over the next two frames.

On Saturday, a 2-0 Reds lead after seven innings turned into a 5-2 deficit after eight.

Andrew Abbott (8-6, 3.28 ERA) will start for Cincinnati on Monday. The left-hander has faced the Rockies twice in his career, going 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA across 12 innings.

Colorado will open a seven-game trip on Monday, looking to rebound after falling 10-1 to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

The Rockies twice had a pair of runners on early in the contest but couldn’t capitalize. One of those was followed by back-to-back strikeouts, including one from Ezequiel Tovar.

It’s been a struggle at the plate for the shortstop, who is 0-for-24 with 11 strikeouts through six games this month.

“We talk about it all the time – peaks and valleys,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “This is a valley for [Tovar]. Usually with him, it’s too much of the expansion of the strike zone. … That’s his challenge moving forward is cutting down the chase, especially the breaking ball down and away.”

Sunday’s setback snapped the Rockies’ three-game winning streak, a rare run of success for a club that is tied for last in the National League standings.

Colorado is 12-31 on the road this season.

Ryan Feltner (1-7, 5.60 ERA) will start on Monday for the Rockies. The right-hander shouldered the loss in his lone career start against the Reds on June 3 after allowing eight runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings.

–Field Level Media