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Series Preview: Indians vs Reds

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Well well well, look who it is

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The first set in this home-at-home series between the Reds and Indians was a split, but there were good signs for the Indians. Not only did they snap their four-game losing skid, but Franmil Reyes may finally be waking up, and the Reds bullpen may be vulnerable — you just have to get through Luis Castillo first.

Wednesday and Thursday will be the final two games between these two teams and another split would mean the Ohio Cup gets sawed in half and thrown in Lake Erie. I don’t make the rules.

Should it not split, either the Indians will head back on the road with a three-game winning streak and feeling pretty good about themselves, or they’ll be in the midst of a miserable stretch where they lost six of seven games.

Team in a box

2020 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record 18-39
Record 18-39
Runs Scored 202
Runs Allowed 286
Run Differential -84
Last 10 4-6
AVG .218
OBP .282
SLG .349
OPS .631
wRC+ 71
ERA 4.71
SIERA 4.48
K-BB% 13.2%

Projected starters

Wednesday, August 5, 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Tejay Antone vs. Mike Clevinger

The Reds will open the series with Tejay Antone, a 26-year-old who made his MLB debut last week with a 4.1-inning relief appearance. He was covering for Wade Miley’s thumping at the hands of the Cubs in that first outing, but now he’ll get his first shot at a start. Antone makes his living on the ground. That is, he succeeded in the minors with a ground ball rate that frequently approached 60% in the lower levels and 51.9% in 71.2 Triple-A innings last year.

Tuesday, August 4, 6:10 p.m. ET: RHP Luis Castillo vs. Carlos Carrasco

Luis Castillo had mixed results in his first starts of 2020, both against the Tigers. His first was a brilliant 6.0-inning outing in which he struck out 11 and only allowed six hits and one earned run. He lasted 6.0 innings in his second start against Detroit, but only struck out six and allowed five earned runs. He, too, is a groundball machine (you could say the Reds have a type) and he features one of the nastiest change-ups in all of baseball. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2018, Castillo’s change leads all of baseball in weighted pitch value at +37.9.

Lineup highlights

OF, Shogo Akiyama - Shogo Akiyama sure would have made a good addition for the Indians outfield, but instead he signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Reds this offseason, figuring to be their on-base-machine table-setter at the top of the lineup. In addition to consistently getting on base at a .370+ clip playing in Japan, Akiyama started to add some power in the latter years of his Nippon Pro Baseball career. He hit at least 20 in his last three years before making the jump to Major League Baseball.

1B, Joey Votto - He may be amazing, but Joey Votto can’t beat father time. Time is slowly creeping up on the 36-year-old superstar if last year is any indication, but his legendary eye at the plate has him drawing seven walks and just one strikeout in 40 plate appearances this season. He had two walks and two hits in the first set of games in Cincinnati.

Reds roster

Poll

How many games will the Indians win against the Reds?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    2
    (31 votes)
  • 43%
    1
    (28 votes)
  • 7%
    0
    (5 votes)
64 votes total Vote Now