Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fiers takes the ball vs. familiar foe in Reds

Mike Fiers has some familiarity with the Reds from his time in Milwaukee. The Astros right-hander will make his seventh career start against Cincinnati on Sunday in the series finale at Minute Maid Park, while the Reds will counter with lefty Brandon Finnegan in the rubber match.
Despite a 2-4 record against the Reds, Fiers has a 3.13 ERA in 37 1/3 innings. He has 30 strikeouts and nine walks, last facing the Reds on July 3, 2015, as a member of the Brewers.
Fiers has enjoyed success against Reds sluggers Jay Bruce and Joey Votto. Bruce is hitting .167 (3-for-18) off Fiers, while Votto is hitting .286 (2-for-7).
"I've faced them quite a few times before with Milwaukee and I've always had battles with them," Fiers said. "I got to focus on me and not too much on who's in the box. I have to pitch to my strengths and not worry about what they do.
"Just like any team in the big leagues, every lineup is good for a reason and you have to make good pitches. If I make my pitch, I feel like I'm going to get them out. But if you do make mistakes, those guys will capitalize on it. So you have to be at your best every start."
Finnegan is making his second Major League appearance at Minute Maid Park and first start. Finnegan pitched against the Astros in 2015 out of the bullpen for Kansas City. He also pitched at Minute Maid Park while at TCU in the 2014 Houston College Classic.
Finnegan, who will be making his 15th start of the season, leads the Reds with eight quality starts and has gone at least six innings in each of his last five starts.
Fiers is also throwing with confidence, having walked two or fewer batters in 13 straight starts dating to his final start in 2015.
"Throwing all my pitches well gives me confidence," Fiers said. "Every time out I'm trying to get better, go deep into games and limit the runs as much as possible. That's what I did last game, and we ended up getting a win because of it. My job is to limit the damage and keep them close, and we have a good chance to win with this lineup."
Things to know about this game
• Prior to Sunday's game, the Astros will recognize team broadcaster Bill Brown for his 30 seasons as the club's primary television announcer.
• Votto is hitting .404 (61-for-151) in 38 career games at Minute Maid Park, his third-highest batting average at a Major League ballpark.
• Marwin Gonzalez, the Astros' reliable utility player, has played in each of the club's last 11 games, homering on Saturday. He was the first American League player this season to make a start at every infield position.

No comments: