Cards' Sonny Gray to face former team in series with Reds

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Miami MarlinsJune 17, 2024; Miami, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Rent Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Russo-USA TODAY Sports

After making his first two starts in June, St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Sonny Gray vowed to pitch more aggressively.

“There's definitely a change in mentality,” he said.

Gray (9-4, 2.81 ERA) will try to maintain this new focus when he faces the visiting Cincinnati Reds in Game 3 of a four-game series on Saturday.

The Reds won 11-4 on Thursday and the Cardinals won 1-0 on Friday, their sixth win in eight games.

Gray allowed a total of seven runs on seven hits and seven runs in 9 2/3 innings while opening June in a loss to the Phillies in Philadelphia and a loss at home to the Colorado Rockies. In his next three starts, he held opponents to four runs on 10 hits in 21 2/3 innings.

During that span, he struck out 21 times and walked just three.

“He's a guy who walks the talk. That's what he shows,” Cardinals head coach Oliver Marmore said. “He said he wanted to be part of the offense.”

Gray said mechanical adjustments also contributed to his transition.

“I also wanted to do something in baseball…with a little bit of a twist,” Gray said. “I'm not trying to manipulate it on certain things. However, I know that's when I'm at my best and that's when I go in with that mindset. I'm just going to continue down that path and not Just let it leave me this time.

Gray played three seasons for the Reds and did not face Cincinnati when the two teams played earlier this season. In his career, Gray made his first start against the Reds in 2016 while pitching for the Oakland Athletics. He was 0-1 with a 2.35 ERA against Cincinnati.

The Reds will start Carson Spears (1-1, 3.45 ERA). He has a 5.25 ERA in his past two starts, allowing 7 runs on 14 hits in 12 innings. He struck out 10 and walked two.

Spears hit his quality start mark Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, earning his first major league victory. He allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out five and walking one.

Establishing good command early is key to this achievement.

“Coming out of the gate, getting in the zone, mixing it up early, that's a big thing for me, getting me settled,” Spears said.

He has made one start against the Cardinals twice in his career and is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA.

The Reds' offense has strengthened this series with Noelvi Marte returning from an 80-game PED suspension.

“He's a great player, talented,” said Reds second baseman Jonathan India, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games on Friday. “He's swinging like he always does. That's important for this lineup.”

The Cardinals made changes in the bullpen on Friday, promoting Gordon Graceffo to make his major league debut and sending Kyle Leahy to Memphis to make room for him.

Reds outfielder Jake Fraley was again out of the starting lineup Friday with a calf contusion. “We just have to be careful with him so it doesn't turn into a muscle strain,” Reds boss David Bell said.

Also missing Friday were catcher Tyler Stephenson, who left the team on paternity leave, and third baseman Jeimer Candelario, who is battling knee tendonitis. struggle.

–Scene-level media

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