Game Preview #66: Cincinnati Reds (38-27) at Cleveland Indians (33-32)
By Mike Brandyberry
A week ago the Indians and Reds met in Cincinnati with the Indians playing well and the Reds struggling to find their way. A week later, the two teams have switched roles. The Reds have won their last six games since last Monday, while the Indians are losers of five of their last six.
The Reds and Indians had the same pitching matchup last Wednesday when Derek Lowe (7-5, 3.78 ERA) took the hill for the Tribe against Cincinnati’s Mat Latos (5-2, 4.64 ERA). The Reds were the winners of a 5-3 contest. Lowe pitched six innings, allowing three earned runs and earning the loss. Latos pitched seven innings, only allowing two earned runs and garnering the victory.
The drama from last Wednesday’s game was not necessarily seen on the scoreboard, however. Latos threw inside on Lowe and he took exception with the pitch, blaming Dusty Baker. After the game Lowe had choice words for Baker, saying he had, “zero respect for that guy.” Lowe said Baker has been trying to hit him since his last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008.
The next day Baker addressed Lowe’s accusations by admitting that he ordered Latos to buzz Lowe back. “What he was talking about was something that he said and did a few years ago. You’ve got to ask him what that was,” Baker said. “Understand? And he got a lot of people involved in the situation that didn’t need to be involved in the situation.”
Baker also made it clear the Lowe may not remember what he said or did years ago when the altercation began because he liked to drink in the clubhouse. Lowe did not respond or comment after Baker’s accusations, but the bad blood could continue to run through both clubhouses for today’s game.
Meanwhile, the Indians are desperately looking for a way to score runs and find consistency in their pitching. The Indians find themselves 13th of 14 teams in the American League, with a 4.55 team ERA. While back end bullpen pitchers Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez have dominated this season, it seems no one in the front part of the bullpen can get the game to them. The starting staff, combined with a struggling offense, has had a tough time to get a lead early so that the Indians can go to the leaders of the Bullpen Mafia.
Tonight, manager Manny Acta will shake up the lineup again, dropping Carlos Santana to the sixth spot in the batting order. Santana has struggled since being activated from the seven day disabled list with a concussion, suffered on May 26. Santana has been active since June 5.
Game time is slated for 7:05 pm at Progressive Field, however, thunderstorms are in the forecast all afternoon. A rain delay is a possibility but the two teams should be able to get the game in this evening. The game can be heard on the Indians Radio Network and seen on SportsTime Ohio.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Jose Lopez, DH
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Carlos Santana, C
7. Johnny Damon, LF
8. Casey Kotchman, 1B
9. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Cincinnati Reds Starting Lineup
1. Zack Cozart, SS
2. Chris Heisey, CF
3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. Brandon Phillips, 2B
5. Jay Bruce, RF
6. Ryan Ludwick, LF
7. Scott Rolen, 3B
8. Todd Frazier, DH
9. Ryan Hanigan, C
Photo: Getty Images