New pitcher sparking Reds momentum before even taking the mound

Newest Red Matt Harvey expected to pitch in Los Angeles

The Cincinnati Reds departed for Los Angeles riding a mini wave of momentum in the form of:

Back-to-back wins for the second time this season.

A series victory for the second time in 11 tries.

And consecutive games allowing two or fewer runs for the second time this year.

It's probably not a coincidence that the little spurt of success began hours after the team traded for former All-Star pitcher Matt Harvey .

“I think it does let our ballclub, not just our pitchers, know that we’re trying,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “There’s some talent out there that we can get, and we tried to get it and we got it. I think it’s a spark for the entire ballclub.”

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Shortly after the Reds announced the trade, Luis Castillo threw 5.2 innings of three-hit ball to snap a personal three-outing winless streak in a 7-2 Reds victory .

The next day, Sal Romano equaled his longest outing of the year while tying his career high of seven strikeouts in a 2-1 win.

Romano said he was thinking about the ramifications of the Harvey acquisition while he was the mound, but he knows it means one of the starters is probably going to lose his spot in the rotation.

›› Reds expect Harvey to pitch against Dodgers this weekend

“I didn’t try to think about that,” he said. “I went out there (Wednesday) and just tried to pitch my game and not really worry about what happens outside of my control.

“I’m just out there to go pitch and whatever happens after that isn’t my call,” he added. “I’ve got to try to do the best I can and make sure my name is one that stays in (the rotation).”

Riggleman said the back-to-back strong starts by Castillo and Romano were good to see ahead of a west coast trip for four games against the Dodgers and three in San Francisco.

“We’ve got to put some together,” he said. “It starts with starting pitching. When you get six (innings) and maybe even a little more from your starters, your bullpen lines up correctly and you’ve got a chance.”

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As well as Romano pitched, he did not get the win because the Reds offense scored just one run through nine innings, leaving him with a no decision.

But everything ended well in the 10th when Adam Duvall delivered his own jolt of momentum with the first walk-off home run of his career.

Duvall’s average had dipped to .169 with just five hits in his previous 26 at bats before his solo blast to left in his only at bat Wednesday after entering the game in the ninth as part of a double switch.

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“I’m just trying to put together good at bats,” Duvall said. “I thought (Tuesday) I had three really good at-bats. I’m just trying to group them together as much as I can. Hopefully I can continue to do that.”

“Nobody is more deserving than Adam,” Riggleman said. “We all know his struggles, but a couple of nights ago he made two unbelievable plays in left field that if he wasn’t in it for the team, those plays aren’t made. He’s not out there feeling sorry for himself, he’s putting his work in and it paid off.”

The Reds open the series vs. the Dodgers on Thursday night.


Reds at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

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