Cleveland Indians Series Preview: Cincinnati Reds, May 27-30

Joey Votto and former Tribe favorite, Shin-Soo Choo - Jonathan Daniel

The Indians conclude a road trip and start a home stand with their designated NL rival, the Cincinnati Reds.

The Tribe will finish the current road trip and also start a short five game home stand, with their in-state rivals, the Cincinnati Reds over the next four days. This will be the first time the Indians have done a home and home series. The first two games will be at Great American Ball Park. On Memorial Day, they will play a matinee at 1:10 PM with Tuesday's game at 7:10 PM. Then both teams will trek up to Progressive Field on Wednesday and Thursday for start times of 7:05 PM. With the shift of the Astros to the AL West, there was one week that all teams would need to play interleague games and MLB decided to pick the start of summer for the new home and home format with the designated AL/NL rivals. After the game, the Tampa Bay Rays will visit for three before the Indians leaving town on their roughest road trip of the year.

Team in a Box

Cincinnati Reds

Offense

NL Rank

Pitching

NL Rank

2013 Record

31-19

Runs/Game

4.8

2nd

Runs/Game

3.6

4th

NL Central

t-2nd

OBP

.335

1st

H/9

8.0

5th

Last 10

7-3

SLG

.412

7th

BB/9

2.7

4th

Last 30

19-11

Steals

14

14th

SO/9

8.1

1st

The Reds are a very tough matchup for anyone these days. The lineup boasts a perennial MVP candidate in Joey Votto and another annual All-Star in Brandon Phillips. The arrival of LGFT Shin-Soo Choo has given them the on base hitter they lacked last season. The hitting is in the top five of the NL in most categories and leads in walks and on-base percentage. The pitching does not have a dominant starter, but all Five of the guys in the rotation are better than league average. The bullpen has the flame thrower Aroldis Chapman but the set-up guys are effective but not dominant either. The defense is one of the better ones in the NL as well, third in fielding percentage and third fewest errors.

Projected Lineup

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS+

CF

Shin-Soo Choo

L

230

285

441

508

156

SS

Zack Cozart

R

200

246

355

601

60

1B

Joey Votto

L

234

353

479

545

176

2B

Brandon Phillips

R

217

284

333

469

114

RF

Jay Bruce

L

218

271

317

463

107

DH

Todd Frazier

R

191

241

325

416

98

LF

Xavier Paul

L

101

253

386

373

106

C

Ryan Hanigan

R

86

187

271

280

49

3B

Jack Hannahan

L

49

209

292

256

50

While in Cincinnati, the DH will obviously not be used, so I expect LGFT Hannahan will be on the bench and Frazier will be at third. The backups are infielder Cesar Izturis, outfielder Derrick Robinson and catcher Devin Mesoraco. As you can see above, the lineup is very balanced, left vs right. Cozart is not a traditional #2 hitter, Hanigan has struggled since missing all of April with an injury and LGFT Hannahan has struggled in a backup role. But LGFT Choo has really acclimated himself to Cincinnati, at least offensively. His defense leaves quite a bit to be desired. But Votto and Phillips are the keys to this lineup. Votto has been very good against us in the past, 297/390/634 with 9 homers in just 118 plate appearances. But Phillips has never forgiven us for the trade. He is a huge thorn in our side, 352/389/562 and 9 homers of his own in 179 plate appearances.

Projected Starters

Date

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

May 27

Mike Leake (Jimenez)

R

3.25

55.1

124

10.1

2.4

6.2

May 28

Mat Latos (McAllister)

R

3.17

65.1

127

8.5

2.2

7.6

May 29

Bronson Arroyo (Masterson)

R

3.39

66.1

1198

8.5

1.6

5.2

May 30

Homer Bailey (Kazmir)

R

3.08

64.1

131

7.7

2.5

8.8

Leake has been okay against us in three starts, 1-0, 4.15 ERA and a 9.3 K/9. Latos only has two starts against us and got hit hard in one of them; he is 1-0 with a 7.36 ERA and a 9.0 K/9. Arroyo has also struggled against us, 5-5 in 10 starts, 5.14 ERA and a 5.1 K/9. And Bailey hasn't been much better, 2-2 in 6 starts, 5.28 ERA and a 5.9 K/9. So there could potentially be a lot of runs scored by our offense agsainst them.

Key Relievers

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

Aroldis Chapman

L

2.74

23.0

149

6.3

3.9

15.3

Sam LeClure

R

1.29

21.0

317

4.7

3.9

9.9

Jonathon Broxton

R

4.35

20.2

94

7.4

3.0

6.1

Chapman has struggled against us in the past (8.10 ERA), but the sample size is really small, 3.1 innings. LeCure has tossed 11 innings against us with a 4.91 ERA and 7.4 K/9. Broxton has been very good against us in five innings, 0.00 ERA, 4 hits and 3 strikeouts. Alfredo Simon and JJ Hoover are the other key relievers.

On the Shelf

  • LF Chris Heisey (strained right hamstring) - 15-day DL, no timetable for return
  • LF Ryan Ludwick (right shoulder surgery) - 60-day DL, possible July
  • RP Sean Marshall (sprained right shoulder) - 15-day DL, possible early June
  • SP Nick Masset (right shoulder surgery) - 60-day DL, no timetable for return

Missing Ludwick has put a hole in the lineup. Heisey was his initial replacement but we went down as well, leaving Paul to fill in. I don't think they miss Masset all that much an Marshall is another arm for the pen.

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2013

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

2012

3

3

500

30

36

417

Last 5

13

17

433

133

148

451

Last 10

29

28

509

285

261

540

All-Time

42

39

519

409

369

547

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