The Cincinnati Reds (20-23) will play the first of four games against the defending AL champion Cleveland Indians (23-19). The first two games will be in Cincinnati today and tomorrow, and the last two games will be in Cleveland on Wednesday and Thursday.
The game on Thursday in Cleveland will be especially interesting. The Reds and Indians will start at 6:10, but the Cavs and Celtics will start Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at 8:30 in Boston (that game has the potential of sending the Cavs to the NBA Finals). The Cavs will be hosting a watch party right across the street at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Reds and Indians are off to very different starts to 2017. The Reds started the season 19-15, but have lost 8 of their last 9. The Indians, like the Cubs, started the season off slower than most, but are coming off a big sweep of the Astros in Houston over the weekend. The Astros, despite the sweep, still have the best record in the MLB. The Indians are currently tied with the surprising Twins for first place in the AL Central.
|OBP||.331 (10th)||.321 (17th)|
|SLG||.450 (5th)||.406 (18th)|
|wRC+||102 (10th)||97 (15th)|
|DRS||16 (3rd)||8 (5th)|
|SP ERA||5.83 (30th)||4.98 (28th)|
|SP FIP||5.52 (30th)||3.97 (7th)|
|RP ERA||3.45 (8th)||1.82 (1st)|
|RP FIP||3.92 (13th)||2.63 (3rd)|
Scott Feldman was absolutely brilliant in two consecutive starts against the Giants (5/7 & 5/12), allowing just 2 ER in 16.0 IP. However, he got rocked in his last start on 5/17 against the Cubs: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Feldman’s walks are up from his career number (2.88), but his K/9 and HR/9 are both improved. Since allowing 2 home runs on Opening Day, Feldman has allowed just 3 HR over his last 8 starts (45.2 IP).
Feldman has actually pitched in 15 career games against the Indians (6 starts), and has a 3.02 ERA in 53.2 IP (39 K, 10 BB). Feldman pitched two shutout innings in relief against the Indians last season.
You better come ready to swing against Josh Tomlin. His 0.89 BB/9 are the fewest in the AL (min 40.0 IP). Tomlin has always been really good at limiting walks, but is on another level so far this season. Tomlin is susceptible to the long ball, and his 1.86 HR/9 in 2016 was the third highest in baseball.
Tomlin has a career 4.55 ERA in 5 career starts against the Reds. However, he pitched very well in his lone start against the Reds a last season: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Votto has 2 HR against Tomlin.
|1. Jason Kipnis (2B)
2. Francisco Lindor (SS)
3. Michael Brantley (LF)
4. Carlos Santana (RF)
5. Edwin Encarnacion (1B)
6. Jose Ramirez (3B)
7. Lonnie Chisenhall (CF)
8. Yan Gomes (C)
9. Josh Tomlin (P)
|1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Zack Cozart (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Scott Schebler (RF)
7. Jose Peraza (2B)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Scott Feldman (P)
The Indians are lead offensively by rising superstar Francisco Lindor, who reminds me so much of Barry Larkin. They have also got great contributions from Jose Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall. Both Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes are having good starts to 2017 after being injured for most of 2016. Former Red, and big off-season acquisition Edwin Encarnacion is off to a slow start to 2017. Bradley Zimmer is the Indians top prospect, and was just called up last week.
News and Notes
I live up here in Cleveland, so the Reds being successful over the next four days would be greatly to my benefit. I root for the Indians anytime other than when they play the Reds, mainly because my wife is from here and a die-hard fan. But despite that, these fun folks still give me grief about last year’s 13-1 beatdown (the game Steve Delebar walked four straight batters with the bases loaded). So, even more than usual……Go Reds!