The visiting Cincinnati Reds can build on their momentum Tuesday night when they kick off a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox.
The Reds enter the series with four wins in their last five games and are coming off a three-game road sweep of the Chicago Cubs. The Reds outscored the Cubs 25-10.
"Everyone is really proud of how we're playing, and how hard we're playing," Cincinnati manager David Bell said. "I don't see that changing ever with the guys we have. It's a good feeling. We've got a long way to go. We've got a lot left yet to accomplish and ways we have to keep getting better. It's a good feeling when guys feel this good about how they're going about it."
No Cincinnati player is hotter than rookie shortstop Matt McLain, who will carry a seven-game hitting streak into the game. McLain, 23, had four hits in Cincinnati's 8-5 victory over Chicago on Sunday. He's 15-for-31 during his seven-game hitting streak.
McLain, a first-round pick in 2021, is batting .380 with two home runs and eight RBIs since making his major league debut on May 15. He was 9-for-15 with two RBIs and scored four runs in the three victories over the Cubs.
"I just try to live in the present and no matter what happens, I'm going to be locked in the next step, next pitch, next ground ball," McLain said. "I don't look at my stats that much."
The Red Sox return home after posting a 4-5 record during a road trip out west. Boston took two of three games at San Diego and Arizona but was swept in a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels.
"We won two (against the Padres), the (series) in Anaheim the first two games we pitched great and we weren't able to win the games," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "That was the hiccup of the whole trip. ... We've got to figure out Sundays, that's the next step."
The Reds are expected to start right-hander Ben Lively (2-2, 2.65 ERA) on Tuesday night. Lively's only career start against Boston came in 2017, when he pitched for the Phillies. He allowed three runs on eight hits in seven innings but wasn't involved in the decision.
The Red Sox are 15-19 against right-handed starters this season.
Brayan Bello (3-2, 4.08) is Boston's probable starter. Bello pitched a career-high seven innings in a 4-0 loss to the Angels on Tuesday. He surrendered two runs on six hits and struck out six. It was the only time in his seven starts this season that he didn't issue any walks.
Bello allowed eight earned runs in his first two starts this season but hasn't given up more than two runs in any of his five starts since then. He earned the win in his only career start against the Reds, which came last year. He allowed a run on eight hits in five innings of Boston's 5-3 victory. Bello struck out five and walked two.
Boston's Rafael Devers went hitless in five at-bats Sunday after missing the previous two games with a calf injury.
--Field Level Media