Cleveland defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 6-2, this afternoon to dodge a weekend sweep in the first leg of the Ohio Cup. All six runs came via the long ball, but almost any offense is enough with eight innings of Shane Bieber and one untouchable inning of Emmanuel Clase.
It all began when José Ramírez blasted a ball into the upper deck during the first inning. Wade Miley fell behind and challenged Ramírez, who did not miss. It was his first right-handed and a no-doubter that traveled 420 feet (nice) and represented his fourth dong on the campaign.
Robérto Pérez added a three-run blast of his own when Miley fell behind in the fourth. He tried to sneak a fastball over the outer third but Pérez extended the barrel and deposited it over the wall in center.
The Reds, however, are a team that may surprise many this summer. Joey Votto continued his torrid series by doubling in two on a liner to the right-field corner. This set the score at 4-2 after five and signaled further fight from the intrastate rival.
Or it might have. Things mattered a lot less after Jordan Luplow drove in two of his own with a homer in the seventh. I see no reason to not reward Luplow with everyday-player status until his performance deteriorates. Plus, he hit a ball 418 feet after barking at the ump over an iffy call earlier in the game. This after coming back and drawing (another?) walk. Swagger! Ride it.
Meanwhile, Bieber continued to eliminate Reds that weren’t named Tyler Naquin or Joey Votto without hesitation. Naquin in particular posed a puzzle to me because unlike Votto he is not a future Hall of Famer.
I assume that Bieber knows Naquin’s swing inside and out. If he doesn’t, Bebo certainly should. In the second, Naquin worked a nine-pitch walk off of Bieber that ended with a close ball four at the edge of the plate. Sometimes a curveball is beautiful, but also a ball according to Blue.
In the fourth, Bieber attacked Naquin up in the zone and earned a fly-out. Yes. This is the way.
In the bottom of the eighth, I can only assume that he wanted to see if he could sneak one by his old teammate. He offered a first-pitch fastball down and in. Naquin hit it 428 feet. Score: 6-3. Oops.
The good news is that Emmanuel Clase struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth.
Corner Pieces - Joey Votto Stuff
- Joey Votto before the series: 51 PA, 9 H, 2 HR, 6 RBI, .184/.216/.306
- During the series: 13 PA, 7 H, 1 HR, 4 RBI.
- After the series: 64 PA, 16 H, 3 HR, 10 RBI, .267/.313/.467.
- Also, a triple play?
Not a bad weekend, Mr. Votto.
Shane Bieber allowed a single earned run until throwing a low fastball to Tyler Naquin. You know better, Shane.
You are also the first pitcher to record at least ten strikeouts in each of his first four starts, ever. That is very neat, and so I forgive you. Great talk, champ.
Cleveland takes the day off on Monday before returning home to face the White Sox on 4/20. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m. ET.
Plenty of time if you ask me.