Heading into Wednesday evening’s matchup between the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians, the Tribe looked to continue their recent two game win streak versus their cross state rivals. The last of which ended in dramatic fashion with a walk off two-run homer from Asdrubal Cabrera in the 10th off Aroldis Chapman. Although Joey Votto continued his hitting streak in 24 of 25 games, tonight was no different for the Tribe who outplayed the Reds in a 8-1 victory.
The story of the series to this point has been the inconsistency of both of the Reds strong suits coming in, that being consistent hitting with runners in scoring position and shut down bullpen pitching. In the first matchup of the series we had Latos pitch terrible, the bats balance him out with big run production but the bullpen blowup late. Game two was a different story with Mike Leake who had been struggling of late, pitch a gem, no offense to speak of (that being with Reds scoring on an infield single and wild pitch), and inconsistency out of the pen. Tuesday night’s scenario had Sean Marshall pitching two terrific innings with three huge K’s and Aroldis Chapman coming in to close and blowing another save. Also ending his thirty four appearance streak of striking out at least one batter. We didn’t see any run production to speak of from Votto, Bruce (0-4 Tuesday night), Phillips or Ludwick which was not a good sign. However, that is why before this game I believed the Reds would get it together and put the Tribe’s brooms back in the closet.
Tonight’s matchup had Bronson Arroyo facing Justin Masterson, both pitchers coming into the contest without winning records or terrific ERA’s to speak of. However, Arroyo had a quality appearance in his last start against the Mets who have looked incredibly strong this year. He went six and sat down five against what is a stronger lineup in the NL. Masterson also came into this matchup with a great start versus the Pirates shutting them out in a seven inning, four hit, nine strikeout gem.
Tonight we saw more of the same great pitching from Justin Masterson and real awful performance from Arroyo. The game started relatively well for Bronson Arroyo, but he was missing his spots all night which made him fight deep in counts. This lead Arroyo’s pitch count to run high into the high seventies during the fourth and that’s where the Reds began to run into trouble. Arroyo let up two homeruns to Damon and Cabrera which gave the Tribe a 5-0 lead, one they would not lose finishing the game with an 8-1 victory.
Another key note in tonight’s game for the Reds was another disappearance of the bats. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce went a combined 1-7 and the Reds only could muster three hits in a complete game, nine strikeout performance by Justin Masterson. This was the first complete game for Masterson this season.
After the last weeks sweep of the Tribe, Cleveland completely returned the favor in full force to the Reds in a variety of ways. Tonight’s loss for Cincinnati drops Bronson Arroyo to (3-5) and brings the streaking Justin Masterson to (4-6). The Reds return to action Friday back at Great American ballpark versus the hapless Minnesota Twins. This matchup pits Homer Bailey (5-4) against Nick Blackburn (3-4). Bailey has won four of his six last starts.
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Written by Michael Passaro