The Cincinnati Reds played a third of the season with five pitchers in their starting rotation, quite a feat when pitching injuries are so common. Then on Tuesday, the sixth pitcher to start a game for the Reds in 2019 delivered one of the best performances of the season — for the first seven innings, at least.
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Lucas Sims threw seven shutout innings before giving up a grand slam with one out in the eighth against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds led 10-0 before the grand slam, thanks in part to three two-run home runs by Derek Dietrich, and won the game 11-6. Sims struck out nine and allowed six hits.
The Reds acquired Sims from the Atlanta Braves last July in the Adam Duvall trade. The 21st overall pick in the first round in 2012, Sims was Atlanta’s 18th-ranked prospect in 2017, according to MLB.com, but did not make the top 30 in 2018.
Sims made his big-league debut in 2016 and was 3-6 with a 5.62 ERA in 14 appearances and 10 starts. He was 4-3 with a 2.84 ERA in 14 starts this season at Triple-A and had a 7.84 ERA in six appearances with the Braves.
This season, Sims was 3-0 with a 4.06 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Louisville. He made three appearances for the Reds last September and was 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in 5 1/3 innings.
“He’s been pitching well,” Reds manager David Bell said before the game. “We’re happy to have him here. He’s right on the brink of being here. He’s been here before and pitched well. We’re very confident. It’s nice to have a guy like him, to be able to plug him in.”