Game Preview #62: Cleveland Indians (32-39) at Cincinnati Reds (34-27)
By Mike Brandyberry
Last night Brandon Phillips went 3-3, with a home run to pace the Cincinnati Reds past the Tribe, 5-3. Phillips, who originally broke into the big leagues with the Indians, takes great pride in making the Indians pay for trading him. Phillips has eight home runs and hits .347 in his career against the Tribe.
Today, the Indians end their nine game road trip with a matinee on the Ohio River. What started with two quality series victories against Detroit and St. Louis, will end with the Tribe trying to avoid a sweep in Cincinnati. Josh Tomlin (3-3, 4.96) will try to stop the bleeding for the Wahoos. Tomlin is 4-0, with a 2.38 ERA, but also boasts a .600 career batting average in Interleague Play. Tomlin’s three hits are as many as the rest of the Tribe pitching staff in the last two seasons. Tomlin, who is susceptible to allowing home runs, could struggle at Great American Ballpark. The Cincinnati ballpark is a very hitter friendly ballpark, especially during the day.
The Reds will counter with Mike Leake (2-5, 4.97 ERA) who has been suffering from a stomach virus the last few days. Originally, he was slated to start last night, but had to be pushed back due to illness. Leake has only started against the Tribe once, defeating them 7-5 last year while allowing four runs on four hits. The afternoon heat could affect Leake, who could be a little weak from his illness.
Michael Brantley will try to extend his 20-game hitting streak this afternoon. Brantley tied the Major League mark for 2012 last night and can break it today. He has one hit, a double, off Leake in two career at bats.
After the game last night Derek Lowe spoke out about Dusty Baker allegedly throwing at the pitcher in the fifth inning. Lowe believes Baker has been throwing at him for most of the last five seasons, dating back to Lowe’s time with the Dodgers. Lowe was quick to mention after the game that he has, “zero respect,” for Baker. Both teams were warned during the game last night, so retaliation is a possibility this afternoon. The Reds, who seem to have enemies in the Cardinals and Dodgers, are all too familiar with bad blood.
This morning Baker stated that he did instruct Mat Latos to “buzz,” Lowe during an at bat last night. Baker said today that he was retaliating for Lowe hitting Joey Votto two years ago. Baker also said that Lowe would not remember the original altercation because he drinks at the ballpark. Lowe had no further comment this morning.
The Tribe will look to come home for a six game homestand on a hot streak today at 12:35 pm. The broadcast can be heard on the Indians Radio Network or seen on SportsTime Ohio.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Carlos Santana, 1B
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Jose Lopez, 3B
7. Aaron Cunningham, LF
8. Lou Marson, C
9. Josh Tomlin, P
Cincinnati Reds Starting Lineup
1. Chris Heisey, CF
2. Zack Cozart, SS
3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. Brandon Phillips, 2B
5. Jay Bruce, RF
6. Todd Frazier, 3B
7. Ryan Ludwick, LF
8. Devin Mesoraco, C
9. Mike Leake, P
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images