(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cincinnati Reds adjusted their starting rotation this week and hope it pays off, as they target a split of a two-game set with the Boston Red Sox Wednesday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
With Homer Bailey bothered by elbow stiffness, the Reds will send Mike Leake to the mound Wednesday and go with Alfredo Simon versus Colorado on Thursday. Johnny Cueto gets the nod Friday and Bailey is expected to return to action on Saturday at Coors Field.
"As much as we would have liked to have given everybody the extra day off, it didn't make any sense at all to ask Homer to go out there and try to throw through some unusual stiffness in his elbow," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We're pretty optimistic that by Saturday he's going to be good to go."
The Reds turn to Leake in hopes of bouncing back from Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Red Sox. Leake is 9-10 with a 3.42 earned run average and has lost three of his last five outings, including Friday's 2-1 setback to Miami in which he gave up both runs across seven solid innings.
Leake has allowed only three runs in his last three appearances, but the Reds are 2-4 in his past six starts. The right-hander, who is 4-5 in 11 home starts, faced Boston for the first time in a 4-3 defeat on May 7 at Fenway Park, where he gave up two runs in seven innings for a no-decision.
Cincinnati could use another seven-inning start from Leake and blew a 2-1 lead last night, as Jonathan Broxton surrendered a two-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes in the eighth inning and ruined a strong start from Mat Latos. Latos gave up one run and five hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking one.
Devin Mesoraco had three hits and an RBI, while Todd Frazier drove in a run for the Reds, who have lost three of four games and are 2 1/2 games out of a wild card spot. The Reds are 3-3 on a seven-game homestand and will play their next seven games on the road against Colorado and St. Louis.
Boston has won two straight and improved to 4-3 on an eight-game road trip with last night's big win. Cespedes, who was brushed back by a Broxton pitch before going deep, has reached base in all nine games since arriving in Boston and has been clutch in the last two games. He clubbed a three-run homer in the eighth inning of a 3-1 win over the LA Angels on Sunday.
"Two consecutive games now he's come up big in the eighth inning," Boston manager John Farrell said of Cespedes. "He gets a fastball up over the plate and shows how strong he is, but a timely hit against another late-inning reliever."
Xander Bogaerts had two hits and an RBI for the Red Sox, while starting pitcher Joe Kelly posted a no-decision with six innings of two-run ball. Tommy Layne picked up the win and Koji Uehara earned his 26th save.
After this brief set in Cincinnati, the Red Sox will return to Fenway Park for 11 games versus Houston, the LA Angels and Seattle.
Prior to Tuesday's game, the Red Sox recalled pitcher Anthony Ranaudo from Triple-A Pawtucket and he gets the nod this afternoon. Ranaudo made his major league debut in a 4-3 win over the New York Yankees on Aug. 1. He got the win by holding the despised Yankees to two runs and four hits in six innings.
Ranaudo is getting another chance with Brandon Workman's recent struggles.
Boston won both games at home versus the Reds back in early May.