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Graham Ashcraft returns for Cincinnati Reds, will start today against Atlanta Braves

Welcome back, Doug!

Washington Nationals v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/Getty Images

When we last saw Graham Ashcraft on the mound for the Cincinnati Reds, he was busy taking a comebacker off the back of his leg in a June 8th game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It ended his day after just 2.2 IP, the 3 ER yielded by him prior to his exit the lasting image of the dismal run of form he’d experienced after his brilliant beginning to 2023.

Dating back to May 7th, Ashcraft has been tagged for a crazy 41 ER over his last 29.0 IP, a 7.03 FIP paired with that 12.72 ERA across 7 starts. And even though he’s been on the shelf for the last 17 days, the 41 ER he’s been tagged for in that time still ranks as the most in the majors since May 7th, with Sandy Alcantara and Jordan Lyles (34 ER each) lagging in a distant second.

The hope is that a) Graham’s calf bruise is fully healed and that b) his return today will again feature the guy who was positively dominant from the beginning of the season through May 2nd. That guy, you’ll recall, allowed just 8 ER in 36.0 IP (6 starts) and looked like a burgeoning ace among his peers.

The Reds have Ashcraft officially listed as the team’s starter for Saturday’s clash against the Atlanta Braves, having been activated earlier on Saturday. Alan Busenitz was optioned to AAA Louisville to make way on the roster.

First pitch is set for 4:10 PM ET, and given last night’s epic performance by both clubs, I can only expect another classic this afternoon. Hopefully, it features Ashcraft swooping in to rescue this beleaguered Reds rotation, since him reclaiming a key-cog spot there would go a long, long way towards making this season truly special.

Reds Lineup

Braves Lineup