Battle for the Ohio Cup Resumes This Week Between Indians and Reds
Bob Toth | On 16, May 2016
Apparently, this is just one of those seasons that the Minnesota Twins have the Cleveland Indians’ number.
After taking two of three in Minnesota at the end of April, the Twins replicated the feat in Cleveland over the weekend, winning each of the final two games of their series at Progressive Field against the Indians to improve to 4-2 against the Tribe this season. They ended an eight-game losing skid in the process, which only makes the Indians’ series loss feel that much more painful.
The Indians (17-17) cannot seem to escape mediocrity, a problem plaguing the club now for parts of the last several seasons. Cleveland has been no better than two games above even and no worse than two games below even. The latter seems to be a glass ceiling the club cannot break through.
Cincinnati (15-22) is having a tough season in the standings, but started out much better than expected by winning five of its first six games of the year before running into the Chicago Cubs in the second week of April. The Reds won two consecutive games just once the rest of the month and won three straight early in May, but are just 2-5 since that series. They lost two of three in Philadelphia over the weekend, winning the finale by a 9-4 score to avoid the sweep. The two losses on the road dropped their record away from home to 3-12 this season.
At Progressive Field:
Monday, 5/16, 6:10 PM ET – LHP John Lamb (0-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. RHP Cody Anderson (0-3, 7.31)
Tuesday, 5/17, 6:10 PM ET – RHP Alfredo Simon (1-3, 8.67) vs. RHP Danny Salazar (3-2, 1.90)
At Great American Ball Park:
Wednesday, 5/18, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Josh Tomlin (5-0, 3.82) vs. RHP Brandon Finnegan (1-2, 4.40)
Thursday, 5/19, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Corey Kluber (2-5, 4.30) vs. RHP Tim Adleman (1-1, 3.38)
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all games); Fox Sports Ohio (all games – Reds market)
Radio – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; WLW 700 (Cincinnati)
Michael Brantley (LF) – 15-day disabled list (retroactive to May 10) – right shoulder inflammation
Carlos Carrasco (SP) – 15-day disabled list (April 24) – moderate left hamstring strain
Lonnie Chisenhall (OF) – bereavement list (May 13)
Michael Martinez (UTL) – contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus (May 14)
Tyler Naquin (OF) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (May 13)
Roberto Perez (C) – 60-day disabled list (May 1) – fractured right thumb; transferred to 60-day May 14
Homer Bailey (SP) – 15-day disabled list (March 25) – recovery from May 2015 Tommy John surgery
Anthony DeSclafani (SP) – 15-day disabled list (March 25) – left oblique strain
Raisel Iglesias (SP) – 15-day disabled list (April 26) – right shoulder impingement
Michael Lorenzen (P) – 60-day disabled list (March 25) – mild strain, tendinitis in right elbow
Devin Mesoraco (C) – 60-day disabled list (April 28) – torn labrum in left shoulder
Jon Moscot (SP) – 15-day disabled list (May 3) – inflammation in left shoulder (on rehab assignment beginning May 15)
Yorman Rodriguez (OF) – 15-day disabled list (March 27) – left hamstring strain
Kyle Skipworth (C) – 60-day disabled list (March 31) – recovery from December 2015 left ankle surgery
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
The Indians hold a 50-45 edge in 95 games between Cincinnati and Cleveland dating back to 1997. The Indians are 30-19 playing in Cleveland, while the Reds are 26-20 when the series is in Cincinnati.
The two teams have played an interleague series each season since 2003. The Indians took five of six last season, sweeping a three-game series in Cleveland before taking two of three in the Queen City. Kluber had wins in two of the games.
Outfielder Adam Duvall is beginning his second season with the Reds after a brief 27-game look last season, when he hit .219 with five homers and nine RBI. He has appeared in 32 games already this year, hitting .286 with a team-leading 12 doubles, six homers, and 14 RBI.
Former Indians outfield prospect Tyler Holt has found a home with the Reds after his release by Cleveland late last year. After appearing in five games for the Reds down the stretch, he has played in 26 games this season, hitting .279.
…AND OLD ONES
The Reds, despite the trade of Todd Frazier in the offseason, still return some potent weapons in their offense.
Jay Bruce had a big series against Philadelphia over the weekend. After going hitless in the opener, he had a single and a walk on Saturday before reaching base safely all five trips to the plate in the Reds win on Sunday. He had a pair of singles and two walks and added a double. He is hitting .462 with a .563 on-base percentage in the last week and has driven in eight runs in the first 12 games of the month. He is hitting .258 for the season with seven doubles, six homers, and 23 RBI.
Their 32-year-old lefty slugger Joey Votto has not had the same success at the plate in the last week, hitting .083 with just a homer in his last 12 at bats, adding in six strikeouts in that stretch. After a bounce back season last year that had him finish with 33 doubles, 29 homers, 80 RBI, a .314 average, and a .459 OBP, he is hitting just .215 with a .353 OBP this season with two doubles, five homers, and 20 runs knocked in.
Former Indians prospect Brandon Phillips still mans second base in Cincy. He is hitting right around his career average, batting .274 this season with six doubles, six homers, and 18 RBI in his eleventh season with the Reds. He was nearly moved in the offseason to Washington, but the trade fell through. He spent parts of his first four MLB seasons with the Indians, playing in 112 games in his second season, but 23 games combined in the other three years after being acquired in the Bartolo Colon trade with the Montreal Expos.
Shortstop Zack Cozart leads the club with a .321 batting average this season and is second with ten doubles.
LOTS OF PITCHING QUESTIONS
The Reds, who have suffered injury after injury to members of their starting rotation already this season, have used ten different starting pitchers in 2016. Finnegan leads the staff with eight starts.
After trading troubled closer Aroldis Chapman in the offseason, the Reds now have questions in their bullpen. They have converted the second-fewest saves in baseball, earning four in 12 opportunities.
The pitching staff as a whole has given up the most walks in baseball and has the second-worst WHIP (1.51) and ERA (5.08).
The Indians, who have hit the fewest home runs in the American League (31) will face off against the pitching staff that has surrendered more long balls (64) than any other team in baseball this year.
RIDE THE PITCHING
Indians starters have allowed the fewest runs and earned runs in the American league. Their 1.16 WHIP is the top mark in the league and they have the second-best batting average against (.231). They are also tied for the second-fewest batters walked (58) in the league.
DOUBLE PLAYS AT A MINIMUM
With just 21 double plays turned this season, the Indians improved defense ranks dead last in all of baseball. The Reds are tied for second-to-last with 22.
KIPNIS EXCELLING IN MAY
After hitting .274 with five doubles, three homers, 13 RBI, and 12 runs scored in April, Tribe second baseman Jason Kipnis is having a strong follow-up month of May. He has five multi-hit games and is batting .308 in the month with one double, one triple, two homers, four RBI, and eight runs scored.
RAMIREZ KEEPING HIS HELMET ON AND GETTING ON BASE
The Indians’ Jose Ramirez will likely see more playing time in left field with the return to the disabled list by Brantley. He is hitting .333 in May with a .444 OBP, four doubles, five walks, and six RBI.
Cleveland outfielder Rajai Davis is hitting just .105 in May after a .274 start to his season in April. He has four hits in 38 at bats in the month and has struck out ten times while drawing just one walk. He is just 2-for-30 in his last eight games.
IN THE HOLE
The Indians will hit the road for New England after Thursday’s finale to play three with the Boston Red Sox from Fenway Park over the weekend. The Reds will stay put, hosting the Seattle Mariners for three games from Great American Ball Park beginning Friday night.
Photo: AP Photo/Chris Szagola