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Cincinnati Reds vs. Cleveland Indians
Friday night will feature an interleague battle of intrastate teams as the Cincinnati Reds (14-15) square off with the Cleveland Indians (17-13). Cleveland will host this one at Progressive Field, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10pm ET.
This will be the first game of a three-game set between the two.
For the Reds, they come into this on the heels of a series split with the Chicago White Sox. The Reds have to be happy to come away with even that much as they scored just one run in two games. In their last game, a 1-0 win in extra innings, Jesse Winker had the game-winning hit in the tenth inning.
Cleveland comes in red hot as they have won five in a row, including a four-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals. On Thursday, they blanked Kansas City 4-0 behind a stellar start from Triston McKenzie, who went five innings of scoreless ball, allowing just two hits and five strikeouts.
The Indians are the favorites in this one playing at home. They are -144 to win while the Reds’ moneyline sits at +122. The runline features Cincinnati +1.5 while the over/under for total runs is 8.5.
The Reds will send southpaw Wade Miley (3-2, 2.67 ERA) to the mound Friday. Miley picked up the win in his last outing, an 8-6 win over the Cubs, going five innings and allowing just two runs.
The Indians will counter with righty Zach Plesac (2-3, 4.78 ERA). After a slow start to the season, Plesac has turned it on as of late. In his last outing, a 5-0 win over the White Sox, he went 5.2 innings of scoreless ball, allowing three hits, four walks, and striking out six.
By The Number
Despite struggling in their last two games, the Cincinnati Reds have still been the best offense in baseball thus far. They rank atop the list in runs scored per game at 5.24. The Indians rank 18th, averaging 4.24 runs.
Defensively, it is all Cleveland. They rank 10th in runs allowed per game at four. The Reds rank 27th in the league allowing 5.24 runs per game.
Reds Need To Improve On The Road
At 14-15 overall, the Reds currently sit in fourth in the NL. Central, 2.5 games behind the first-place Cardinals. One of the biggest reasons for their slide has been their play on the road, where they are a dismal 4-8. They will look to improve on that at Progressive Field.
Leading the way for the Reds on offense is outfielder Nick Castellanos. He is currently hitting .324/.360/.648 with a team-leading nine home runs and 20 runs batted in.
Castellanos has also had some success against Plesac with a couple of hits and a home run. Nick Senzel and Eugenio Suarez have also homered against the righty in their careers.
Indians Look To Stay Hot
With an 8-2 record in their last ten games, the Indians have catapulted themselves to first place in the AL Central. With the White Sox and Royals within a game, the Indians will look to stay hot and try to create some separation.
Jose Ramirez leads the team offensively. He is hitting .259/.354/.556 with a team-leading nine home runs and 17 runs batted in. He also has four stolen bases to date.
Against Miley, Ramirez has a home run, although he is just two for ten against the lefty overall.
Eddie Rosario, who has three home runs and 19 runs batted in on the season, has also homered off of Miley in his career.
Indians Hope To Keep Reds’ Bats Quiet
This is a classic matchup of solid pitching versus solid hitting. After starting slowly, Zach Plesac has been phenomenal as of late for the Indians. On the flip side, after starting out sizzling, the Reds’ bats disappeared in their last series.
With Ohio bragging rights on the line, expect both teams to come out strong as they look to take game one of the series. One thing is for sure, this should be an exciting weekend of baseball.
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