He’ll try to prove that point when he takes the mound against the New York Mets in the middle game of a weekend series at Great American Ball Park.
Graves, a converted reliever, lost five straight decisions from May 25-June 27, working on five or six days’ rest on several occasions during that stretch. On Tuesday, the veteran right-hander started on three days’ rest for the first time in his nine-year career, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 with one of his best efforts of the season.
Graves yielded two runs and nine hits over seven innings, striking out two without a walk to post his first win since pitching a shutout at St. Louis on May 14.
“It’s only the first time, but it worked out great,” Graves said of the short rest. “I hope it continues to work so well. … I really haven’t pitched on a regular five-day schedule, sometimes I’ve had six, seven, eight days off, but this seemed like it worked.”
Manager Bob Boone agreed, and will bring Graves back on three days’ rest as long as he pitches effectively.
Tom Glavine ended a seven-start winless streak in Friday’s series opener, pitching the Mets to a 7-2 victory in the first meeting between the clubs this season.
The left-hander pitched seven strong innings and Jeromy Burnitz had three hits, including a long three-run homer, as New York improved to 4-1 since a five-game losing streak.
The Reds have lost consecutive games since winning three of four.
STANDINGS: Mets - 5th place, 15 1/2 GB, NL East. Reds - 4th place, 4 1/2 GB, NL Central.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Steve Trachsel (7-5, 4.34 ERA). Trachsel has won three of his last four starts, including Monday’s 3-1 victory over Montreal. The right-hander allowed one run and five hits over seven solid innings, striking out three and walking two. Trachsel is 7-3 over his last 10 starts and has been the Mets’ most consistent starter since beginning the season with a seven-start winless streak. He is 7-3 with a 2.53 ERA in 15 career starts against the Reds.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Graves (4-7, 4.76 ERA). Graves is 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA in 17 career relief appearances against the Mets. This will be his first start against New York.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mets - Ty Wigginton, .273 avg. and 49 runs; Burnitz, 16 HRs; Cliff Floyd, 44 RBIs; Roger Cedeno, 7 SBs. Reds - Sean Casey, .304 avg.; Adam Dunn, 23 HRs and 52 runs; Austin Kearns, 57 RBIs; Aaron Boone, 12 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Mets, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mets - RHP Armando Benitez has converted 20 of 26 save opportunities this season. … LHP Al Leiter was originally scheduled to start Saturday, but will miss his turn due to a sore right knee. … Rookie SS Jose Reyes was scratched from the Mets lineup Friday because of a tight hamstring. He also missed a game on Wednesday. Reds - The Reds had four errors Friday, pushing their major league-leading total to 80. … 1B Casey returned from a two-game suspension for his part in a June 13 brawl with Philadelphia and went 1-for-3 on Friday. … The Reds activated INF Ryan Freel from the 15-day DL on Friday and optioned him to Triple-A Louisville. Freel hit .268 in 16 games before suffering a hamstring tear.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mets - 18-25 on the road; Reds - 21-20 at home.
INJURIES: Mets - C Mike Piazza (groin), 15-day DL; LHP Mike Stanton (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Grant Roberts (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (groin), 60-day DL; 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL. Reds - LHP Kent Mercker (back), 15-day DL; LHP Gabe White (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (elbow), 60-day DL.