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.
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.
|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
The #Reds have released LHP Zach Duke, who on Monday was designated for assignment.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 6, 2019
The Cincinnati #Reds will be wearing their 1939 throwback uniforms today. You can learn more about them, the 1939 Reds, Major League Baseball, and the world at the time thanks to @baseballminutia before the gamehttps://t.co/0vXL8LUvTg pic.twitter.com/IVakMzxMPV
— Redleg Nation (@redlegnation) July 6, 2019
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!