|11:10 AM PT12:10 PM MT1:10 PM CT2:10 PM ET14:10 ET18:10 GMT2:10 11:10 AM MST1:10 PM EST1:40 PM VEN22:10 UAE1:10 PM CT, September 2, 2019
Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio Attendance: 19,631
Smyly looks to get back on track as Phils visit Reds
Drew Smyly might be running out of time with the Philadelphia Phillies, especially if the left-hander doesn't rebound with a strong performance on Monday afternoon in the opener of a four-game road series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Smyly (2-6, 6.95 ERA) is coming off a disappointing month of August after an optimistic debut with the Phillies.
He already had been released earlier this season by both the Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers when Philadelphia signed the 30-year-old on July 21.
Smyly pitched well in his first two outings with his latest team before quickly reversing directions, posting an 0-1 record in five starts in August with a 7.20 ERA. He surrendered nine home runs in that span, a mark he also reached in just four starts in June before the Rangers released him.
The Phillies can't afford to be uncompetitive when Smyly is on the mound. They enter Monday 2 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second National League wild-card berth.
"I just try to improve every week," Smyly told reporters after his latest outing, when he gave up four runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.
"Obviously, the long ball has kind of been my kryptonite all season. Regardless of the results, I feel like I'm a way better pitcher than I was early in the season with Texas. I just have to keep building. I feel close."
Getting off to a better start would be a step in the right direction.
The Boston Red Sox opened their first inning with back-to-back doubles off Smyly on Aug 21. He eventually was removed after 3 2/3 innings, leaving him ineligible for the win in the Philadelphia's 5-2 victory.
In his latest outing, the Pirates opened the game with a triple and a home run. The Phillies eventually gave Smyly a 3-2 lead, but he was unable to hold it, serving up a two-run homer in the sixth.
"I need to do a better job right off the bat," Smyly said. "The last two games, I've put the team in a hole."
Cincinnati is scheduled to send right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (9-7, 4.05 ERA) to the mound for the series opener.
Unlike his counterpart, DeSclafani has been on a roll of late.
He threw seven shutout innings in his latest start on Wednesday at the Miami Marlins, holding them to two hits while striking out eight and walking one. DeSclafani allowed one run and five hits in each of his previous two outings while totaling a combined 11 innings.
"I feel like I'm heading in the right direction," DeSclafani recently told reporters. "I definitely think the stretch that I've been on, I feel like that's in there all the time and I can do that for a full season."
DeSclafani, 29, has seen an uptick in the velocity of his fastball this season, which might also explain his increased confidence.
"It's always exciting to throw harder," DeSclafani said. "Obviously, you want to be efficient and you want to be able to locate it, but at this stage, I'm getting older. I'm not getting younger."
DeSclafani is 3-1 in his career against the Phillies with a 5.40 ERA. He last faced them on July 27, 2018 and did not receive the decision in the 6-4 win.
Smyly faced the Reds in relief earlier this year for the Rangers, getting a save while allowing one run in three innings on June 14. His only other career appearance vs. Cincinnati was a start in 2012, when he gave up three runs in three innings during a no-decision.
--Field Level Media
Updated September 2, 2019