Reyes getting comfortable on big league stage

Cardinals' No. 1 prospect shows improved command in second start in Majors

Reyes getting comfortable on big league stage

CINCINNATI -- Every time Alex Reyes takes the mound for St. Louis, he looks a little less like a prospect and a little more like a Major League pitcher.

The 22-year-old right-hander worked five scoreless innings Friday night during his second big league start before giving up two runs in the sixth and settling for a no-decision in a 3-2 loss to Cincinnati. Reyes, the No. 1 prospect in the Cardinals' organization according to MLBPipeline.com, joined the big league club Aug. 9.

"Alex did a nice job with his start," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "His fastball command was better. The two walks he had, he already had two outs. He had good downhill angle on his fastball, his changeup was very good, and he was able to use the curveball more effectively than in his last game. His fastball was a wipeout pitch tonight."

Reyes had allowed just one run over his first 19 Major League innings before the Reds scored twice on three hits Friday. He threw 103 pitches, 67 for strikes -- certainly more efficient than during his last start against Oakland, when he needed 89 pitches to battle through 4 2/3 innings.

"My command was a little better tonight, but there's still room for improvement," said Reyes, who walked two and struck out seven. "I kept my fastball down in the zone pretty much the whole game. I was executing pitches and not thinking too much about it. I made some good pitches [in the sixth], but those [hits] were well-placed."

The Reds tied the score, 2-2, on three hits and a sacrifice fly in the sixth, but Reyes was able to retire the final two batters he faced.

"Reyes did a nice job; he's an impressive-looking young guy," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "If you can get a good start, it leads you to your best bullpen options."

Reyes said he felt comfortable with the increased workload and with the notion of being a Major League pitcher.

"I still get the little butterflies before the game, but I don't take that onto the mound with me when it's time to focus," he said.

Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.