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ARI@CIN: Simon tosses seven frames of two-run ball

Alfredo Simon didn't envision being winless through his first five post-All-Star break starts. The All-Star was tied for the Major League lead with 12 wins prior to the Midsummer Classic, and since then he has gone 0-4 with a 4.78 ERA.

Although this season is the veteran right-hander's first as a full-time starter, Reds manager Bryan Price isn't too concerned.

"The way I see it is as comparable to anybody else on our team, where there's going to be an ebb and flow to the season," Price said after Simon's last start, in which he went five innings and allowed two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and a season-high-tying five walks against the Marlins on Saturday.

"I'm confident that this will be a stretch that we'll look back on and say it was his rough patch of the season, but he finished strong."

Simon looks to begin a turnaround on Thursday night, when he and the Reds open a four-game series with the Rockies at Coors Field.

History isn't on his side, however. Simon is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in six career appearances (one start) against Colorado. His lone start against the Rockies came on May 10 of this season, when he lasted a season-low three innings, getting shelled for five runs on eight hits in the loss.

The Rockies will counter with left-hander Jorge De La Rosa. The southpaw has been much more comfortable in hitter-friendly Coors Field than on the road this season. At home, he is 7-2 with a 3.23 ERA, while he is 4-6 with a 5.35 ERA on the road.

That trend continued in De La Rosa's last start, in which he surrendered four runs on six hits over six innings in a loss to the D-backs in Arizona on Saturday.

De La Rosa, like Simon, hasn't fared well against his next opponent. In 10 career appearances (four starts) against Cincinnati, De La Rosa is 2-3 with an 8.49 ERA.

Reds: Phillips could begin rehab assignment Friday
Second baseman Brandon Phillips is nearing a return to the Reds after undergoing surgery on July 11 to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. Phillips injured the thumb on a diving play during a game against the Cubs on July 9.

Price said on Wednesday that Phillips could begin a rehab assignment as soon as Friday and could be back in Cincinnati's lineup toward the end of the club's seven-game road trip or the beginning of the next homestand.

"If everything goes well, we'll get him into some Minor League games, which would be the logical next step," Price said. "Then it will be a game-by-game evaluation on how he's doing. He's certainly going to need at least a handful of at-bats to kind of assess where he is, get his timing back somewhat, and then we'll evaluate and see where he is."

Phillips will likely begin his rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville on Friday, but could also play at Class A Dayton after that, since both clubs are at home this weekend.

Rockies: Dickerson delivering
In the absence of injured sluggers Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, left fielder Corey Dickerson has been providing an offensive spark for the Rockies. In his second big league season, Dickerson has posted a .323 average with a .955 OPS, 16 home runs and 50 RBIs.

He finished Wednedsay's 5-3 loss to the Padres with an eight-game hitting streak intact, but with his three-game homer streak snapped.

"We've got a losing record. But you've got to personally bring good energy," Dickerson said after the first of those three homers, which lifted Colorado to a 5-3, 10-inning victory over the D-backs on Sunday. "It describes the man you are. Are you going to give up or are you going to keep fighting? I think we've got a lot of fight on this team."

Worth noting
• Skip Schumaker is 3-for-8 (.375) with a double and two RBIs in his career against De La Rosa. Ryan Ludwick is 5-for-21 (.238) with seven strikeouts against the left-hander, but three of his five hits were home runs.

• The Reds took two of three from the Rockies in Cincinnati from May 9-11, despite batting .195 (17-for-87) for the series.

• Among National League players with 350 plate appearances or fewer, Devin Mesoraco and Dickerson are ranked first and third, respectively, in home runs. Mesoraco has gone deep 20 times.

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