Consistency is Straily’s hallmark with Reds

Besides wins, baseball managers prize few things more than consistency. For almost two months now, Dan Straily has been the poster boy for that commodity.

Since getting roughed up by the Chicago Cubs for a career-high seven runs on June 27, the 27-year-old right-hander has been rolling. He’s allowed three or fewer runs in each of his 10 starts in July and August, two or fewer in each of the last eight. He’s lasted six innings in all but one of those, and he went one out into the sixth in that one. His earned-run average over that span is 2.43, and he’s gone 6-1 in that stretch to improve to 10-6 overall, matching his career high in wins.

“He’s been a difference-maker and a solidifier for us,” manager Bryan Price said Wednesday, the day after Straily threw six innings to get the win in Cincinnati’s 3-0 victory over Texas.

“He always gives us five or six or seven quality innings,” catcher Tucker Barnhart said. “I think this is, what, eight straight starts with two runs or less? That’s remarkable, especially for a guy we didn’t know we were going to have coming out of spring training.”

The Reds claimed Straily off waivers on April 1 from San Diego, the team to which he’d been traded during spring training by Houston.

Price, a former pitching coach, believes Straily’s deception is his best weapon.

“Hitters don’t see the ball out of his hand as well as they do with other pitchers,” Price said. “He used to be just a four-seam or two-seam pitcher. Now he’s both. He’s opened up his arsenal to both left-handed and right-handed batters. I think hitters have difficulty seeing his release point and recognizing the spin of the pitch.”

Daily watch: Shortstop Zack Cozart took ground balls before the game for the first time in a week. Price considered it a step toward getting the veteran back in the lineup, but the manager wouldn't commit to making that move on Friday, when the Reds open a three-game seres in Arizona after a day off Thursday. Cozart hasn't played since last Wednesday while dealing with soreness and swelling in his left Achilles.

“He’ll be able to take on more of a workload,” Price said. “He took some groundballs and had no issues. We’ve got the off day tomorrow, so we’ll pick it up in Arizona and see where he is. I don’t think it will be a whole lot longer, but we’re going to err on the side of caution. I don’t think I’ll be writing his name in the lineup that first day in Arizona. We’ll wait and see how he feels.”

Reed returns: Left-hander Cody Reed on Tuesday made his first start for Triple-A Louisville since being optioned. Reed pitched six innings for the Bats against Toledo, allowing 10 hits and three walks but only two runs. He didn't strike out any of the Mud Hens. Reed was optioned after going 0-7 with a 7.36 ERA in 10 starts for the Reds.

Next: Left-hander Brandon Finnegan (8-9) tries to reach .500 on the season as he makes his first career start at Arizona's Chase Field on Friday at 9:40 p.m. Finnegan allowed one hit in seven innings of a start against the Los Angeles Dodgers delayed by rain on Saturday, but he got the decision in an 11-1 win.

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