When they meet for the first time as opposing players, Willis will try to end Uggla’s 14-game hitting streak and earn his first major league win in nearly a year Sunday night against the Atlanta Braves.
Uggla joined the Florida Marlins in 2006, one season after Willis posted a major league-best 22 wins. Like his left-handed teammate, the second baseman was named to the All-Star team as a rookie.
While Uggla continued to play well for the Marlins, Willis’ production diminished and he was traded to Detroit in 2007. He earned two wins for the Tigers and made two trips to the disabled list with recurring anxiety before being shipped to Arizona in June 2010.
After the Diamondbacks released him a month later, he signed a minor league deal with San Francisco and then one with Cincinnati in November.
Willis has pitched solidly in his two major league starts but has yet to earn his first win since June 5, 2010. He gave up two runs and four hits over six innings in Milwaukee after being called up from Triple-A Louisville on July 10.
Willis (0-1, 3.38 ERA) allowed another two runs and five hits over 4 2-3 innings Monday against Pittsburgh but was on the wrong end of a 2-0 defeat.
The Reds (49-51) will try to help Willis by building on Saturday’s 11-2 rout of the Braves (59-42).
Cincinnati trailed 2-1 after the fifth but rallied with a combined 10 runs over the next two innings. Todd Frazier(notes) hit a three-run double as his team scored seven times in the seventh, and Edgar Renteria(notes) drove in three runs after replacing an injured Zack Cozart(notes).
It’s unknown how long Cozart, who hyperextended his left elbow, will be out. He was called up from Triple-A Louisville on July 7 and hit safely in his first seven games.
The Reds had scored 11 runs over their previous six games while batting .195. The 11 runs were their most since an 11-2 win over Pittsburgh on April 16.
Brandon Beachy(notes) (3-2, 3.75) will try to cool off that lineup but will likely need a better effort than in his most recent outing. The right-hander, who has never faced Cincinnati, gave up six runs, nine hits and five walks during a 12-3 loss in Colorado on Tuesday. He was 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA in his previous nine starts.
“It was a rough night. Beachy was battling, they just kept taking advantage of his mistakes,” Uggla said. “They were on tonight. The ball flies in this place. That’s why it fun to come here for hitters, not so much for pitchers.”
In his first matchup with Willis, Uggla will try to help his team bounce back by extending his career-high hit streak. The second baseman is batting .347 (17 for 49) during his run but is still hitting .196 this season.
Wills, 6-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 19 career starts against Atlanta, gave up two runs and three hits over four innings of an 11-7 loss with Arizona on June 10, 2010, his first matchup with the Braves in nearly three years.