The Cincinnati Reds (41-44) will host the Cleveland Indians (48-38) this afternoon at 4:10 PM in the first of the final two games of the first half. The Reds enter play on Saturday just 4.0 games back in the NL Central and 3.5 games out of either NL wild-card spot. The Indians hold the second wild-card spot in the AL and are 6.5 games behind the Twins in the AL Central.

These are two hot teams as the Indians have won three straight and are 18-8 since June 4th. The Reds have also won three straight and are 10-6 since June 16th. The strength of both of these teams has been pitching as the Reds rank 3rd in the MLB with a 3.65 ERA and the Indians rank 6th with a 4.00 ERA. Both teams rank in the bottom half offensively as the Indians are 21st in the MLB in OPS at .728, while the Reds are 24th at .718. The Indians however are 6th in the MLB in OPS since June 1st at .811.

The Indians have been carried offensively by the resurgence of Carlos Santana and his stunning 151 wRC+. Francisco Lindor (115 wRC+) and Jose Ramirez (70 wRC+) have had down years by their standards, however Ramirez has a 165 wRC+ over the last 14 days. The Indians pitching has been good despite missing significant time from Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. It was actually reported this morning that Carrasco is battling leukemia, but is still trying to make a courageous come back this season. We certainly send our thoughts and prayers to him and his family.

Starting Pitchers

Anthony DeSclafani, like so many pitchers in 2019, is having a great season except for giving up homers. He is coming off his best start of the season (6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K vs Cubs). He has a career 3.28 ERA in 4 starts against the Indians. He has made one start each of the last two years against the Indians, and only allowed 1 run in each start (12.2 IP)

Shane Bieber was just added to the AL all-star team and it is well deserved. The former top prospect is making a major step forward in his sophomore season with the Indians. He is coming off a monster start against the Orioles: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K. He has 1 career start against the Reds, coming last season: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K.

Starting Lineups

Indians Reds
1. Francisco Lindor (SS)
2. Oscar Mercado (CF)
3. Carlos Santana (1B)
4. Jason Kipnis (2B)
5. Jose Ramirez (3B)
6. Jake Bauers (LF)
7. Roberto Perez (C)
8. Tyler Naquin (RF)
9. Shane Bieber (P)
1. Jesse Winker (LF)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Yasiel Puig (RF)
5. Derek Dietrich (2B)
6. Nick Senzel (CF)
7. Jose Iglesias (SS)
8. Anthony DeSclafani (P)
9. Curt Casali (C)

Other news and notes

Conclusion 

The Reds are back in it! They have fought their way to within 4.0 games despite the disastrous 1-8 start. If the Reds can find a way to get to the All-Star break within 5.0 games of the division, it would have to be seen as a major win. How about thought if they sweep the Indians and get within 2 or 3 games? Go Reds!

87 Responses

  1. ma

    Scooter still sore?

    GO Reds, winning out before the Break will greatly help their chances.

  2. Old-school

    Reds need Scooter 100% for the 10 game stretch July 15-24 against the Cubs / cards/ Brewers. That stretch could define the season. I agree with going slow. Reds offense need 10-12 home runs and a big bat at 2b the second half

    • TR

      And July 15-24 is bracketed by six games with the Rockies who have usually been tough for the Reds to deal with.

      • Roger Garrett

        Reds are just who they are and that’s a team that can hold their own because they pitch so well.If they make a run from here on in it will have to come from the offense cause honestly nobody saw this kind of pitching performance which I believe they can sustain barring injury.If they get anything out of Wood either as a starter or reliever and Reed returns from the DL then they get better.Hitting is the key and even more so situational hitting.Moving guys over,getting a fly ball or just putting the ball in play will help.Just tired of them making everybody look like Cy Young so its time they make everybody look like Loretta Young starting today.Go Reds.

  3. CI3J

    I thought Zach Duke being released would generate more of a response on this site, given how much (deserved) stick he’s taken.

    Well, either way, they took a flier on Duke, didn’t work out. Kudos to the Reds for cutting losses, although I’m still baffled why Duke was given such a long leash. It was blatantly obvious he couldn’t hack it any more, but they still kept throwing him out there to take his lumps.

    • Roger Garrett

      Most of us thought it was a mistake to begin with especially at 2 mil and with other internal options such as Reed already being here.I first thought oh good then Reed will be stretched out to start but then not only did that not happen he was sent down to be a reliever.Go figure but the Reds got in right and as you said kudos for making the call.Did the same with Kemp who like Duke performed just awful.Now if they can look at and cut ties with other marginal players that they have kept around and fell in love with then and only then will we know we are headed in the right direction.Not much love for Duke/Kemp because well they just go there from other teams.

  4. Roger Garrett

    Scooter was rushed back way to soon and wasn’t ready to hit and certainly not in the 4th spot.Hopefully his injury isn’t too bad but he is still along way from being what we hope he can become.I don’t how how long rehab stints are but if possible he should have remained in the minors until his bat speed and timing were where they need to be.Looks like he will have to work it out in the majors but lets try him down in the order some cause the 4th hole between Suarez and Puig is just a rally killer every time.

  5. George

    Nick “These are two hot teams as the Indians have won three straight and are 18-8 since June 4th. The Reds have also won three straight and are 10-6 since June 16th.”

    The Reds are 11-11 since June 4th.

    • Old-school

      The Indians and Reds are both at , or nearing, high water marks for the season and playing good baseball.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Two issues with scooter pinch hitting…

      1] Pinch hitting involves running the bases. If Scooter’s groin is too tender for fielding or he’s being held out for precautionary reasons, he shouldn’t be running the bases.

      2] His .143/.200/.214 slash since returning should preclude him from hitting period!

      Scooter will hit again and will hit again as he and virtually everyone expects/hopes, but he’s not ready to hit MLB pitching and wasn’t ready to hit MLB pitching when he was reinstated.

      Scooter’s early reinstatement, from his abbreviated rehab before he was ready, smacks of desperation by Reds management. With the July 31st trade deadline fast approaching, the Reds needed to get him on the field to showcase his readiness in order to have any hope for trading him. The quick return previously announced from the tweaking of his healthy groin feels like doubling down on the prior desperate decision.

      • Roger Garrett

        Right as usual which speaks of we think we think without putting nay thought in to Scooter’s return.Desperation on a 4th place team that has yet to reach 500 is well really telling.Looks like someone in the room and they may have would have said we have this kid who is tearing it up and lets let him play until Scooter is ready.Van Meter is 24 years old and had an obp of 347 in his brief stay up here.

  6. DocProc

    I wonder if there’s any thought about sending Scooter to the minors for some ABs during the All-Star break.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Unless they place him on the IL and send him down for a rehab, they can’t.

      • DocProc

        Thanks. I think that’s something they should consider.

  7. Sliotar

    Lindor is going to get $300 million and largely be worth it. Straight-out gamer.

    A Lindor-Senzel double play combo? Oh my….lethal. Fun to dream about.

  8. TyGuy88

    Was reading that the Indians have thrown around Lindors name as possible trade bait. I’d give them virtually anyone outside of Castillo.

    • VaRedsFan

      For sure. Start with Trammell and Greene… make it happen.

      • TyGuy88

        Obviously a Peraza-Lindor swap would get it done. ?

      • VaRedsFan

        That might be too much to give away

  9. VaRedsFan

    Can’t fault Disco too much for that long balll. The pitch was just above Casali’s head, and a little in.

  10. vegastypo

    Puig !!!!!!!!!! Two-run shot, and he’s trying to make me eat my words about not re-signing him.

    • Roger Garrett

      Its all about price and years for the Reda as it should be.If Bob has an extra 15 mil laying around for 4 -5 years then well that’s good but if there is one thing this team has is an abundance of oufielders and none have completed a full year in the majors.Of course Senzel was an infielder that was blocked as early as the start of this year sooooooo lets see what happens.

      • vegastypo

        As others have said, the better Puig does, the higher the price goes. My issue isn’t the money, it’s the off-field stuff that developed in LA. There were quite a lot of people out here who couldn’t wait to see him go.

  11. Mark Lang

    They’re jumping outta the park today… gonna be fun.

  12. VaRedsFan

    Even Thom can’t exaggerate how much Winker got robbed leading off….What a catch.

  13. Sliotar

    @Shchi…

    Good takes on Gennett.

    I am for sure in the young/cheap/controllable camp, but I feel for Scooter.

    The team likely did rush him back and Puig, who is also up for a new contract, is carrying this team right now.

    I don’t think Scooter can be moved, yet for his own good, he needs to play and produce before season’s end.

  14. Old-school

    Your friend. . my friend .. Yasiel Puig. The guy hits baseballs hard and hits home runs. GAPB is his friend.

  15. Seat101

    That was a GABP homerun. If you have a ball parks is that a homerun. But I’ll take it

    • vegastypo

      Great thing about that shot from Puig, even in a bigger ballpark, if it doesn’t go out of the park — or through the dang wall — Puig is gonna get a double or maybe a triple. He’s tremendously suited to GABP.

      • Seat101

        Good point! If it’s not a homerun it’s chaos on the base paths!

      • Indy Red Man

        Plus how his arm plays in GABP. Can almost throw it from the warning track to the plate.

      • vegastypo

        Yeah, that’s part of it, Indy. Also, if he gets a decent carom on a ball hit off the wall, he stands a reasonable chance of turning a double into a single — or an out.

  16. matt hendley

    I am sure Thom was Joking about Dixons pitching performance, but he has gotten good in Detroit.

  17. Indy Red Man

    I think this is the best stuff Disco has ever had with the Reds! 95-97 mph and dropping in sliders or splitters. He looks good!

  18. Old-school

    The reds have an OF finally.
    Puig Senzel Winker Ervin.

    I’ll take those 4 the next couple years.

  19. matt hendley

    Reds are playing with that fire today that seemed to be missing earlier in the season. They look good.

    • Indy Red Man

      Big crowd really helps! Too many sleepy Tues nights with 16k

      • matt hendley

        True but from the sound of it, some of those are tribe blue. Money spends good though

  20. vegastypo

    Even realizing that Jose Iglesias isn’t the hitter he showed for the first month-plus, I wonder what better option the Reds would have for next season. His defense is so good, and eliminating base runners in this ballpark seems especially valuable.

    • VaRedsFan

      I hate to tell ya….The Reds are locking up Lindor for the next 8 years

      • vegastypo

        Nice double-play combination ?? Lindor’s bat could carry Iglesias at second. hahaha.

    • Seat101

      His batting average of balls in play is very high. Will have all season to look at them, I think.

    • DocProc

      He’s a .270 career hitter. I would take that every day of the week and twice on Sunday if that glove comes with it.

  21. Indy Red Man

    Just added Disco to my fantasy team with LC and Sonny. He’s reborn all of a sudden!

  22. Indy Red Man

    Reds ding their starter. Starter regroups and mows Reds down to put up a quality start against them. Rinse and repeat

  23. Seat101

    @Vegastypo

    Your teaching moment has come to pass! You were right, if it’s not a homer it’s a double

  24. vegastypo

    That’s unfortunate. I thought Disco had Lindor struck out, but the third base ump said no swing …. then HR.

    • VaRedsFan

      Yup…hanging slider…and he didn’t miss it

  25. Indy Red Man

    Had the right idea….no more fastballs to Lindor, but then he hung a breaking ball. Lindor is just a fantastic player in every phase of the game!

    Reds offense dried up after the 1st inning….nothing new there. Need some offense!

  26. Mark Lang

    Back to that Puig double – that ball probably was never more than 10 feet off the ground… a laser shot. I’ve seen that only once before, Cecil Fielder did it at a game I was at in Baltimore.

    • Pete

      Reminds me of the incredible throws Vlad Guerrero made from right field – basically no arc. Puig has a much ability as anyone that I’ve ever seen.

  27. Old-school

    This catching situation needs fixed.
    They have 2 back up catchers who can’t hit.

  28. VaRedsFan

    I’m taking the credit here:
    I dropped Puig from fantasy team on June 9th…he was hitting .207/.252/.378.
    Since then .307/.402/.731 (not counting today)

    You’re welcome Nation.

  29. Pete

    It’s a nice feeling to expect your team to win a game like this rather than wondering how they’ll bow it.

    Top of the order next inning, time to get her done.

  30. VaRedsFan

    Suarez standing behind the bag….then has to reach forward…late on the tag. milliseconds matter!

  31. Pete

    Hey, that’s our #5 starter, no too bad.

  32. Indy Red Man

    Suarez with weak positioning and tag attempt there, but he’s not alone. I see that alot in todays game. Milw guy the other night with Puig. Disco got it done though….they couldn’t take Bieber out after 5.

  33. matt hendley

    Strike 2 of that at bat was Defenatly a ball. 3 was iffy, but needed a swing.

  34. Steven M Nelson

    Wow. None of the “strikes” called on Suarez were over the plate.

  35. VaRedsFan

    Bieber putting on a clinic in holding the runner on

  36. matt hendley

    Indians getting favorable calls all day. Ramirez strikes out but gets the favor and turns it into a 2B.

  37. VaRedsFan

    All of a sudden it’s not fun again.

  38. Indy Red Man

    Lorenzen overthrowing up in the zone. Thinking too much. Don’t think Meat….it can only hurt the team. See if the offense will show up? If they were in LA they’d be getting shutout

  39. VaRedsFan

    Perez was 3-3 driving the ball to right all day…don’t pitch him up and away.
    Better thought…throw him trash, and hope he goes fishing, if he walks you go after Naquin, who has left a truckload on base today.

    • Indy Red Man

      The Reds are only 3.5 out!!!!! The Reds are hot!!!!! 2 weeks later……they stink sell sell sell. Unlike the Who…. I will get fooled again

      • matt hendley

        Worst case senerio they end up 4.5 out. Be a White Sox and Pirate fan today and they wont even lose ground.

  40. Mark Lang

    I a firm believer in looking at the bright side – and I think the Reds have done WAY more than their share of raising awareness for anemia

  41. VaRedsFan

    When Bowman and Stephenson have been getting chances in close games, it doesn’t become close anymore.

  42. Old-school

    Reds need a legit lefty bullpen arm, a #1 catcher, a power lefty bat at 2b and a top lefty starter. Check those boxes and the reds are a playoff team for years to come

  43. Don

    Dietrich not getting Puig to 3rd in bottom of 7th changed the trajectory of the game. Poor team baseball.

    Dietrich needed to do whatever was needed to get Puig on third with one out. A 3-2 game in top of 8th instead of a tie would have made a difference.

    Suarez looked clueless at bat today as well.

    Need to win on Sunday to go into the break on a high note.
    Need a great start by Mahle.

  44. Wayne nabors

    I should have stayed in cincy,arrived Monday and went to games Tuesday,Wed,and Thursday,and went to birthday bash Fri,and left town today to return to Illinois and they lose,also seen them beat cardinals in June in st.Louis,so undefeated on year so far