Friday, April 15, 2016

Martinez, Cards continue homestand with visit from Reds

Winners in five of their last six games, the Cardinals will continue their nine-game homestand by welcoming the Reds into town for a three-game series that begins Friday on Jackie Robinson Day.
For Reds starter Tim Melville, the trip to St. Louis will essentially be a trip back home. He grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Wentzville, Mo., where, in 2008, he helped lead Holt High School to the state finals while posting a 10-1 record and 0.89 ERA. Friday's appearance against the Cardinals will be Melville's second Major League start.
"I have a lot of friends that are Cardinals fans hitting me up for tickets," Melville said on Thursday. "They're telling me, 'This is going to be the one time I might root against the Cardinals.' I told them, 'I won't tell anybody, don't worry.' There are a lot of memories there from high school, a lot of success there. People there who saw me pitch in high school are now going to be able to see me pitch at the professional level. It's very exciting and I'm happy to be reunited with a lot of those people who helped me along the way, helped me grow and helped me develop."
He'll be opposed by Carlos Martinez, who will look to build off the strong season debut he had against the Braves last weekend. Martinez, who allowed two runs while striking out five over six innings in that start, has more wins against Cincinnati (three) than he does against any other team.
The Cardinals finished 36 games ahead of the Reds last year and won 12 of 19 games between the two National League Central teams. Both teams hit 17 home runs, but the Cardinals outscored the Reds, 75-65.
Things to know about this game
• Uniformed personnel for both teams will all wear No. 42 on Friday as Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day. Robinson broke baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947.
• Cardinals rookie outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker will enter Friday's game riding an eight-game hitting streak. He extended that streak by beating out an infield single in his first at-bat on Thursday before hitting his third homer of the season.
• Reds shortstop Zack Cozart did not start the last two games because of tightness in his right quadriceps. Cozart hit, ran and threw on the field before Thursday's game and said he felt great. Both he and manager Bryan Price expected that he would return on Friday.

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