The NL Central leading Cincinnati Reds have been playing inspired baseball of late, on the strong bats of former MVP Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. Votto has at least one hit in 22 of 23 ballgames and is batting .500 in that span. However, the strong bats don’t tell the entire story for the Reds, strong pitching and an incredibly durable bullpen has given Dusty Baker’s squad the support they need. Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall have been consistently great closing down games and Jose Arredondo in his last thirty appearances has a 1.2 ERA. These three guys and the rest of that staff have given the Reds the best bullpen ERA and lowest opponent batting average in the bigs.
Coming off a sweep of the NL East’s New York Mets, who themselves before this series had swept a strong AL East squad in the Rays, now were looking for a win in the series opener against the Cleveland Indians. In last weeks series against the tribe the Reds outscored Cleveland 24-9 in a dramatic sweep of that three game series. The big story being former Indian Brandon Phillips batting .615 in the series with two homeruns and seven RBIs. The continued strength of Cincinnati’s lineup has driven them to the top of the NL Central where I believe they will stay for the long haul. For the most part the Indians have looked pretty good this season with a good supply of young talent, however the AL Central one of weaker divisions In the MLB this year.
However, the Cleveland Indians flipped the script on the streaking Reds on Monday night snapping their 6 game win streak in a 10-9 victory. The matchup had Derek Lowe and Mat Latos on the mound, who have a contentious relationship after the incident in the last series. Both pitchers didn’t have their best stuff going tonight, with Lowe and Latos going less than six innings and both giving up seven runs.
The Reds continued to swing the bats effectively in Monday’s loss to the Indians. The middle of the order (Phillips, Bruce, Votto and Ludwick) were great again tonight going 10-17 collectively, all driving in runs. Scott Rolen made his first start tonight after spending time on the DL and being absent from the lineup since early May. Rolen looked good fielding the hot corner effectively and going 2-4 with two RBIs. However, the incredibly strong bats could not outweigh the sloppy pitching tonight. With how strong Cincinnati’s bullpen has been this season Dusty Baker must be disappointed with LeCure and Hoover giving up three runs in a ballgame they should have won. Sam LeCure gets the loss moving him to (2-2) and Joe Smith who replaced a shaky Derek Lowe in the sixth gets the win for the tribe moving him to (5-1). Chris Perez earns his 22nd save of the season. Game two of the series pits Cincinnati’s Mike Leake (2-5) against the Tribe’s Josh Tomlin (3-4), both pitchers with an ERA above 5.0.
About the Author
Written by Michael Passaro