Luke Weaver is coming off his best start of the season, and he'll look for another strong outing when he takes the mound for the visiting Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night against the Boston Red Sox.
Weaver, 29, had his changeup working in his last trip to the mound, albeit in a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. The right-hander scattered a season-low three hits and struck out six in 6 1/3 scoreless innings during his team's 2-1 loss.
Weaver (1-2, 5.45 ERA) said his changeup was the primary reason for his success against the Cardinals. He tinkered with his grip after the New York Yankees roughed him up in his previous outing on May 20.
"(The changeup) came to life with some swings and misses, and (it was) competitive in 3-2 counts," Weaver told MLB.com following his last start. "That's the completeness of the arsenal, being able to throw a curveball, slider and changeup. I wouldn't disagree and say that it was probably the best it's been in a while."
"He had a really good changeup, a really good slider, but he'd also get ahead with those two pitches and finish with a really good fastball late," Cincinnati manager David Bell added. "It made it very unpredictable."
Wednesday will be the second start Weaver has made against Boston during his career. He's pitched in three games against the Red Sox and registered a 7.88 ERA but didn't factor into any of the decisions. Weaver allowed seven earned runs on 12 hits in those three appearances.
He'll face a Red Sox team that seemed to sleepwalk through the first six-plus innings of Cincinnati's 9-8 victory on Tuesday. The Reds led 8-0 before Boston scored three runs in the seventh inning and five in the ninth.
"Hopefully we can carry that into (Wednesday) and keep gaining momentum offensively," Boston manager Alex Cora said.
Cincinnati closer Alexis Diaz looked as if he would have Tuesday night off before being called upon to record the game's final two outs. He struck out Triston Casas with the tying run on third base to end the game. It was Cincinnati's fourth win in a row and fifth in the team's last six games.
Boston outfielder Alex Verdugo was not in the lineup Tuesday. Cora said Verdugo wasn't feeling well but could return for Wednesday night's game.
Boston will send left-hander James Paxton (1-1, 5.14) to the mound Wednesday in an attempt to end the team's two-game losing streak. Paxton has yet to face the Reds.
Cincinnati's Matt McLain extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the first inning on Tuesday.
Reds outfielder TJ Friedl left Tuesday's game with hamstring tightness. His replacement, Jose Barrero, hit the first grand slam of his career to give the Reds an 8-0 lead in the seventh inning.
--Field Level Media