Series Preview #19: Cincinnati Reds (33-19) at Cleveland Indians (27-24)
Bob Toth | On 29, May 2013
The Indians and Reds resume their cross-state battle with a pair of midweek matchups, as the two clubs head north from Cincinnati to Cleveland to conclude their season series at Progressive Field starting Wednesday.
The Reds (33-19) swept the two-game set at Great American Ball Park and have now won six straight games against the Indians in Cincinnati. The Reds are now one game shy of evening up the all-time series between the two clubs.
Manager Terry Francona will need to rally his team after they lost their third straight series and five straight games overall. The Indians (27-24) fall to 16-11 in the month of May. They have a current seven-game winning streak against the Reds in Cleveland though. In their last meeting at Progressive Field, Justin Masterson went the distance and defeated Bronson Arroyo by an 8-1 final on June 20th, 2012.
Wednesday’s game will see the same probables, as Masterson will make the first pitch of the night as he takes on Cincinnati’s Arroyo. Masterson (7-3, 3.20 ERA) will be called on to be the stopper of the Indians’ current five-game slide. He gave up three early runs and five on the game over six innings in his last start, a loss in Boston. Arroyo (5-4, 3.39) has won three consecutive starts and has a 2.49 ERA and a 3-1 record in the month of May.
Scott Kazmir will take the bump on Thursday night for the Indians. Homer Bailey will take the ball from skipper Dusty Baker for the Reds. Kazmir (2-2, 6.35) earned a no-decision his last time out after a shaky five innings of work. He struck out six and walked four, but managed just five innings in the outing, marking the fifth time in seven starts he has pitched five innings or less. Bailey (3-3, 3.08) earned the win in his last start against the Cubs. He struck out eight over six innings. He has allowed just one home run in over 32 innings of work on the season.
Both of the games in Cleveland are scheduled for 7:05 PM ET starts and will be shown on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and Fox Sports Ohio. Radio broadcasts can be heard on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network or on WLW 700 in the Cincinnati area.
Cincinnati won the opener of the home-and-home series by a 4-2 final on Monday afternoon. Nick Hagadone (0-1) surrendered a two-run home run to Joey Votto with one out in the bottom of the eighth, just a half-inning after pinch hitter Jason Giambi’s mammoth 467-foot homer had tied the game. The loss by Cleveland wasted another good outing from Ubaldo Jimenez, who lasted seven innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits and four walks with six K’s.
After a three-run first inning, Zach McAllister settled, but minimal support from his offense and even less from his bullpen cost the Indians another win on Tuesday, 8-2. McAllister (4-4) lasted five and one-thirds innings on the night, allowed just those three runs, and struck out six. Another four-run seventh inning by the Reds off of the Indians bullpen (this time Bryan Shaw and Scott Barnes) blew the game wide open. Cleveland scored their runs on RBI singles by Michael Bourn in the fifth and Michael Brantley in the eighth.
Votto leads the National League in batting average (.351), OPS (1.030), and hits (75). He leads all of baseball in walks (43), on-base percentage (.475), and runs (43). He is just 2-for-13 in his career against Masterson with a double and two RBI.
Shin-Soo Choo is second in the Majors with 38 walks and is number one in being hit by pitches (14). He is the Reds’ current leader in home runs with ten. He has two hits in three career at bats against Masterson, before their years as Cleveland teammates.
Giambi has a .316 career mark against Arroyo with three home runs and five runs batted in scattered over 21 plate appearances.
Mark Reynolds has a .429 batting average against Bailey and .333 against Arroyo. His numbers have fallen of late, as he is batting just .211 in the month of May.
Carlos Santana has struck out three times in six at bats against Bailey. His batting average on the season, once amongst the league leaders, has fallen to .285 on the year.
The Indians’ struggles of late could easily be directed at their ineffective bullpen. Since May 18th, they have averaged nearly one run per inning of work (8.73 ERA).
Cleveland received news regarding two members of their pitching staff and their battery mate in the last couple of days.
Chris Perez, who was injured in the ninth inning of Sunday’s loss to Boston, had an MRI on his sore shoulder on Monday. The exam revealed mild tendinitis of his right rotator cuff. He will not throw for five to seven days.
Starting pitcher Brett Myers, on the 15-day disabled list, has been shut down for five to seven days as well due to pain in his right elbow. He had made a pair of rehab starts.
Catcher Lou Marson begins a rehab assignment Wednesday night at Double-A Akron.
Cleveland will welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to town for a three game series upon completion of their set with Cincinnati. The team has several fan-friendly activities on the agenda for the weekend, including $1 Sugardale hot dogs and fireworks on Friday night, an Albert Belle bobblehead on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday’s customary KeyBank Kids Fun Day. After finishing in Cleveland, Cincinnati will move on to Pittsburgh for three games against their NL Central rival, the Pirates.
Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images