Game Preview #67: Cincinnati Reds (38-28) at Cleveland Indians (34-32)
By Mike Brandyberry
The Indians used an offensive outburst last night to defeat the Cincinnati Reds, 10-9. The Indians offense was highlighted by Lonnie Chisenhall, who was a double away from hitting for the cycle, and helped pick up a struggling Derek Lowe. Lowe allowed seven runs in five innings before giving way to the bullpen.
Josh Tomlin (3-4, 5.56 ERA) will take to the mound for the Tribe this evening. Tomlin has struggled since returning from the disabled list on Memorial Day. He allowed six runs and 10 hits in only four innings of work last Thursday against the Reds. Tomlin—who is always susceptible to allowing home runs—was taken deep by Joey Votto. Votto is 7 for 14, with three home runs off the Indians this season.
The Reds will counter with Mike Leake (2-5, 5.05 ERA). He is 1-0, with a 6.10 ERA in two career starts against the Tribe. Leake battled a stomach virus last week, but allowed three runs in four and one-third innings in the same game Tomlin was torched. With the temperature in the high 80s today, the ball could continue to fly out of Progressive Field.
Cleveland could really use a quality start from Tomlin since both Joe Smith and Vinnie Pestano were stretched long last night. Smith pitched an inning and two-thirds, Pestano an inning and one-third before giving the game to Chris Perez for the ninth inning. The three bullpen pitchers have been the only consistent members of the Bullpen Mafia of late. However, getting players out of their normal one inning appearances can affect their productivity.
Last evening Mat Latos alleged after the game that he felt the Indians were stealing signs and relaying them to the hitter from second base. He made clear he felt Asdrubal Cabrera was being tipped off by runners on second.
Indians manager Manny Acta admitted today that he had heard nothing of the accusation last night, but addressed the allegations. His best explanation to Latos being hit was the Indians ability to hit balls over the plate.
“I don’t think our kids are in to that. We don’t teach that,” Acta said. “Hey, you’re going to get hit sometimes. When kids struggle, they think they are relaying signs. This is the big leagues though, everyone can hit a 99 mile per hour fastball and everyone can hit a pitch over the middle of the plate.”
However, Acta was proud of the idea that his youthful Tribe is regarded as such a baseball saavy group to steal signs.
“That’s great though that people think our young, kids are so bright and so smart that they can do that,” Acta quipped. “Usually the people who are doing it, are the ones who are paranoid about it. If you are looking for something, you will always find it.”
Outfielder Johnny Damon is not in the lineup this evening after taking a spill into the left field wall last night. He has a bruise on his right side, but is available to play. “He was pretty banged up after that one,” Acta said. “We were tempted to take him out of the game from the outfield. He was pretty sore in the lower back area, so we’re just giving him a day off.”
After a good evening last night Acta has returned Carlos Santana to the cleanup position. Last night he had been dropped to sixth in the order. He doesn’t feel where Santana hits in the order has an affect on his growth or development as a hitter.
“Lopey’s not in the lineup today. We don’t have that many guys that can handle that (hitting cleanup),” Acta said. “That’s where he’s been most of the last couple years. He’s just having some down time and he swung the bat better last night.”
Game action begins at 7:05 pm at Progressive Field and 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. Carlos Santana, C
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
7. Jack Hannahan, 3B
8. Shelley Duncan, LF
9. Lonnie Chisenhall, DH
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, DH
7. Scott Rolen, 3B
8. Todd Frazier, LF
9. Devin Mesoraco, C
Photo: Getty Images