Series Preview: Cincinnati (June 12-14)

CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 12: (FILE PHOTO) Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds stands at the plate during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ballpark on September 12 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio.The Baseball Writers' Association of America announced that Votto won the 2010 National League Most Valuable Player award. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)



The Indians and Reds will be playing their two Interleague series during the week, which I believe is the first time they haven't met in a weekend series. Also, this year may be the last time the two Ohio teams face off twice in a season, as next year's realignment will probably mean a radical departure from the current Interleague scheme.

Team in a Box (click to enlarge)

Cincinnati_june_12-14_medium

The Reds have been pitching well, but hasn't yet started to hit, which is surprising given their recent history and the home park they play in. They will probably always be among the league leaders in the slugging and home runs thanks to Great American Ballpark (43 homers at home, 24 on the road), but in almost every other offensive category they rank in the lower half of the National League. The offensive troubles aren't due to Joey Votto, who is having a career season (and that's saying something); the Cincinnati first baseman is leading the NL in doubles, OBP, SLG, OPS, and OPS+.

Thanks largely to an outstanding bullpen, the Reds are faring much better in the NL pitching categories. Of the eight pitchers to make a relief appearance for the Reds this season, only Bill Bray has an ERA+ under 100, and Bray's only made five appearances. So in other words, the Indians aren't likely to come from behind in the late innings.

Typical Lineup

Pos. Player BA OBP SLG PA
SS Zack Cozart .248 .297 .422 247
CF Chris Heisey .265 .296 .361 164
1B Joey Votto .355 .476 .631 254
2B Brandon Phillips .271 .318 .414 221
RF Jay Bruce .265 .335 .539 233
LF Ryan Ludwick .203 .281 .428 153
3B Todd Frazier .275 .328 .596 119
C Ryan Hannigan .286 .356 .353 134
P Pitcher

It's kind of bizarre that two sub-.300 OBP players are batting in front of Joey Votto, but there aren't many high-OBP candidates to choose from elsewhere in the lineup. LGFT Ryan Ludwick has somehow found another starting job, though if he keeps this up, it might be his last. Todd Frazier, who has taken over for Scott Rolen, has been impressive at the plate; he's actually slugging higher on the road (.655) than at home (.537).

If Drew Stubbs is healthy, he'll be starting in center field and batting second.

Projected Starters

Date Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
June 12 Johnny Cueto 2.63 78.2 5.9 2.2 8.8
June 13 Mike Leake 4.97 63.1 6.1 2.6 9.9
June 14 Mat Latos 4.85 68.2 7.7 3.3 9.3

The Reds haven't had to place a starter on the DL this season. The Indians will face off against Cincinnati's best starter on Tuesday; Cueto has picked up where he left off in 2011. Mat Latos was acquired from San Diego for four prospects last winter but the big right-hander hasn't yet got into a groove with the Reds.

Key Relievers

Throws Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
Left Aroldis Chapman 0.87 31.0 16.0 2.9 3.2
Left Sean Marshall 3.63 22.1 11.7 2.4 10.1
Right Jose Arredondo 2.22 28.1 10.5 4.8 4.8

I know I'm repeating myself, but with a left-handed heavy lineup, the Indians aren't likely to come back on this bullpen, especially those two left-handers. Chapman has been incredible, putting up Little League numbers against the National League. I had to look at the H/9 line just to make sure I wasn't confusing it with the HR/9 column.

On the Shelf

  • LHP Bill Bray (groin, back) - 15-day DL
  • RHP Ryan Madsen (elbow surgery) - Out for season
  • RHP Nick Masset (shoulder) - 15-day DL
  • 3B Scott Rolen (left shoulder) - 15-day DL
  • CF Drew Stubbs (side) - Day to day

Drew Stubbs is not on the DL and may see action in this series. It will interesting to see what the Reds do when Scott Rolen is healthy, as Todd Frazier has been hitting the stuffing out of the ball, especially in the past two weeks.

talonk's Almanac

All-Time Record 39-36 (.520)
Runs Scored/Allowed 379 333
Pythagorean Win % .559
Best Record 5-1 2011
Worst Record 1-5 30-Jun
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