"This is what everybody works for," said LeCure of his impending debut. "Anybody who has ever put on a uniform, this is the pinnacle. It's taken some time and some bumps in the road. I know it's so cliché and I promised myself I wouldn't say it, but the closer it gets, the anxiety starts to build. I'm sure it won't really set in until I get out there and I'm warming up tomorrow."
LeCure, in his second season at Triple-A Louisville, was activated before Wednesday's game in time to make his first big league start. The former fourth-round draftee went 5-2 with a 2.55 ERA in his first nine starts for Louisville, and he said he took stock of his emotions during his drive to Cincinnati. Finally, LeCure thought, I'm about to arrive.
"It was nice to be traveling on something other than a bus," he said. "I got to stretch my legs out a bit. I wanted to smell the roses along the way. This was the first time I've really been to Cincinnati. I've never been to this ballpark. I wanted to make sure I took in some things along the way. That's what I was thinking of -- understanding the moment and the magnitude of it, not only for yourself but for the people that have been supporting you for your whole life. I feel like part of them will be stepping out there tomorrow."
LeCure's opponent, Houston southpaw Wandy Rodriguez, has suceeded at keeping balls in the park this season, allowing just three homers in 52 innings so far. Rodriguez pitched well enough to win last time out against a tough Rays' lineup and handed his club a quality start. He wound up with a no-decision, but Rodriguez still earned praise from his teammates.
"He still competed," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "This is his third start in a row he's gone out and done that much better. He wanted to stay in the game and wanted to pitch, and it's good to see him compete like that and make those pitches."
Astros: Norris to miss his start on Saturday
Right-handed starter Bud Norris visited with Astros trainer Nate Lucero on Thursday morning after complaining of right shoulder soreness and was diagnosed with a case of biceps tendinitis. Norris (2-5, 6.80 ERA) will miss his next start and is expected to return to Houston to be examined by team doctors soon. The Astros haven't officially decided who will start in his place Saturday.
Houston has the right to be a little more optimistic with Rodriguez, who holds a 1.85 ERA through his last eight starts against Cincinnati. Rodriguez has yet to really find his form but has allowed three earned runs or less in six of his nine starts. The left-hander has completed six innings six times in his first nine starts and has been knocked out before the fifth just once.
Reds: LeCure adds to debut total
LeCure, who threw a complete game one-hitter in his last start for Louisville, will be replacing Homer Bailey in the rotation and ending an impressive streak for the Reds. Cincinnati used just five starters through the first 48 games of the season, and LeCure will replace former first-round draftee Homer Bailey, who's currently sidelined with a case of inflammation in his right shoulder
Things couldn't be coming at a better time for LeCure, who was named the International League's Pitcher of the Week last week. The right-hander has won three straight decisions and hasn't allowed an earned run in either of his last two starts. LeCure will be the fifth Red to make his big league debut this season and will join fellow rookie Mike Leake in the rotation.
Houston closer Matt Lindstrom's streak of 22 consecutive saves was snapped on Thursday. ... Veteran Lance Berkman tallied his 1,000 career walk on Thursday. ... Dating back to May 11, the Reds have homered in 16 consecutive games. That's the longest streak in the Majors this season and the longest for the Reds since 2006. ... First baseman Joey Votto has missed two straight games with a sore neck. ... The Reds are 21-9 in their last 30 games. Cincinnati is now eight games over .500, a height they hadn't reached since 2006. ... Jay Bruce went deep Thursday for his first home run since April 29.
Fri, 5/28 7:10 PM ET
Gomes flirts with cycle as LeCure wins debut
Sam LeCure won his Major League debut and the Reds' offense piled on the runs against the Astros. Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes was a double short of the cycle and Drew Sutton hit his first grand slam for Cincinnati.
|Lee, Ca, LF||5||0||2||1||0||0||2||.205|
|Rodriguez, W, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.278|
|Lopez, W, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Cabrera, O, SS||5||1||1||0||0||0||1||.277|
|Hernandez, Ra, 1B||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.287|
|Phillips, B, 2B||6||2||3||3||0||2||4||.264|
|Gomes, J, LF||4||2||4||4||1||0||0||.316|
2B: Lee, Ca (5, Lincoln), Quintero (4, Lincoln), Keppinger (16, Lincoln).
HR: Pence (8, 1st inning off LeCure, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Bourn 2; Keppinger 3; Pence 5; Lee, Ca 3; Berkman; Manzella; Quintero 3.
RBI: Pence 2 (23), Lee, Ca (20), Blum (9), Bourn (7), Keppinger (18).
2-out RBI: Pence; Lee, Ca; Bourn; Keppinger.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Rodriguez, W; Bourn; Feliz; Berkman; Pence; Manzella.
SAC: Rodriguez, W.
Team RISP: 3-for-13.
Team LOB: 10.
2B: Rolen (11, Rodriguez, W), Cairo (2, Lopez, W), Hanigan (6, Cash).
3B: Gomes, J (2, Rodriguez, W).
HR: Phillips, B (7, 1st inning off Rodriguez, W, 0 on, 2 out), Gomes, J (7, 3rd inning off Rodriguez, W, 1 on, 1 out), Sutton (1, 6th inning off Byrdak, 3 on, 2 out).
TB: Cabrera, O; Hernandez, Ra; Cairo 4; Phillips, B 6; Rolen 3; Gomes, J 9; Stubbs; Hanigan 3; Sutton 5.
RBI: Phillips, B 3 (18), Gomes, J 4 (32), Rolen (31), Bruce (20), Stubbs (24), Sutton 4 (4), Hernandez, Ra (9).
2-out RBI: Phillips, B; Gomes, J; Bruce; Stubbs; Sutton 4.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Bruce 2; Stubbs 2; Phillips, B 2.
Team RISP: 8-for-19.
Team LOB: 9.
SB: Cairo (1, 2nd base off Rodriguez, W/Quintero).
DP: (Rolen-Phillips, B-Cairo).
|Rodriguez, W(L, 2-7)||3.1||8||8||8||2||5||2||5.37|
IBB: Berkman (by LeCure).
Pitches-strikes: Rodriguez, W 86-49, Chacin 37-18, Fulchino 15-9, Byrdak 17-8, Lopez, W 22-15, Cash 10-8, LeCure 98-61, Lincoln 47-29, Owings 19-14.
Groundouts-flyouts: Rodriguez, W 3-1, Chacin 2-1, Fulchino 0-1, Byrdak 0-1, Lopez, W 1-0, Cash 1-1, LeCure 8-3, Lincoln 3-0, Owings 0-1.
Batters faced: Rodriguez, W 20, Chacin 8, Fulchino 4, Byrdak 5, Lopez, W 5, Cash 6, LeCure 27, Lincoln 11, Owings 5.
Inherited runners-scored: Chacin 3-3, Byrdak 2-2, Owings 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Adrian Johnson. 1B: Tim McClelland. 2B: Mike Everitt. 3B: Andy Fletcher.
Weather: 82 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 10 mph, Varies.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media