Tonight at 7:10 p.m., the Cincinnati Reds (14-15) aim to win their first Ohio Cup title since 2014 when they head north on I-71 this weekend against the Cleveland Indians (17-13) three times . The Reds are only 23-37 in Cleveland.
The Indians come in hot as they have won 5 games in a row and 9 of their last 11 games. The Indians were offensively a two-man show: Jose Ramirez (156 wRC +) and Franmil Reyes (164 wRC +). They have no other regular above average batsman in their line-up.
The reds are a great fortune that they will not see Shane Bieber this weekend. The Reds will want to come to the Indian SP early. James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase have only allowed 1 earned run in 29.1 innings this season. Karinchak has had an incredible 30 strikeouts in 15.0 innings this season and has only run 3 batters. Fortunately for the Reds, Karinchak has thrown each of the last two days and 4 of the last 5 days (he threw 76 spots this week). He hasn’t played three games in a row this season so there’s a good chance he won’t be available tonight.
Wade MileyThe only mediocre start to the season was against the Indians on April 18: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 5 K. Miley only allowed 3 home races throughout the season, but two of them came in this game to Jose Ramirez and Eddie Rosario. Miley has a career of 4.95 ERA in 8 starts against the Indians (6.75 ERA in 2 starts at Progressive Field).
Zach Plesac is certainly glad that Joey Votto is not in the line-up. Votto has 2 bombs in 4 bats against Plesac. The numbers for Plesac this season may not look very good, but 12 of the 17 ERs he has allowed came in two starts. He only allowed 5 ER in the other 4 starts this season. Plesac was dominant at 8 launches in 2020 with an EIP of 2.28 ERA / 3.39 but was downgraded at one point due to an apparent disregard of the Covid protocols. He has a career 5.11 ERA in 2 starts against the Reds. Here is a video of Castellanos who haunted Pleasc last season.
The Reds really messed up their line-up with Votto. Shogo Akiyama has been activated and will make its debut in 2021 with the 9th beat. The Eugenio Suarez at SS the experiment was either terminated or interrupted. Suarez has -10 outs above average this season, 4 more than any other player in any position. Votto being out could have been a good excuse to end the experiment. It looks like Nick Senzel will play 2B more regularly (at least against RHP). One has to wonder what that means for Jonathan India. It seems possible that he will be sent down after the weekend when the Reds run out of DH / Extra clubs.
Tyler Naquin will play as a visitor in his first career game at Progressive Field. Naquin played 325 career games with the Indians.
Red’s pitchers obviously have to watch out for Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes as mentioned above, but one guy Wade Miley should specifically see tonight is Jordan Luplow. He has a career of 967 OPS in 317 PA against LHP.
An interesting note: Josh Naylor is only playing first base for the third time since he made that famous Buckner-style mistake in Cincinnati a few weeks ago. The last time he played 1B was on April 26th.
Reds Bullpen watch
Today begins the brutal stretch of 17 consecutive days of baseball for the Cincinnati Reds, who will play for 30 of the next 31 days. The most obvious concern is how the Reds’ bullpen will hold up. You will at least start rested as you can see from the usage table below.
Messages and Notes
The Reds’ defense could look different every day
Before today’s game, manager David Bell spoke to the media and stated that there could be a lot of movement while Joey Votto fails when it comes to who is playing which defense position. Mike Moustakas also spoke about how diverse the team was and how that really helps make things easier.
Nick Lodolo finished 10th on his Double A debut
The Cincinnati Reds who started pitching on the farm have been amazing so far this season. Doug Gray noted that in their eleven starts this year for the Reds Minor League starting pitchers, the group had an ERA of 1.40 in 45.0 innings with only 26 hits allowed and 57 strokes. Nick Lodolo played a big role in this on Thursday night’s Double-A debut he knocked out 10 batteries without strolling over 5.0 innings. Lodolo has never struck a blow in his professional career and now has a 40-0 strike-to-go ratio.
Redleg Nation Radio # 374: Naturally naughty
If you missed it Make sure to check out this week’s Redleg Nation Radio episode Here, Chad Dotson and Chris Garber discuss Joey Votto’s injury, the ridiculousness of Amir Garrett’s suspension, Hunter Greene’s Double-A debut, and more.
The Reds haven’t had a record of 500 since May 16, 2017. Today is the day that changes. Go Reds!