Series Preview: Indians at Reds (then Reds at Indians)

 

Cleveland Indians (27-22) at Cincinnati Reds (31-19)
Series 17, Games 50 and 51.
Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati: 105, Hitter's Park.

Cincinnati Reds at Cleveland Indians
Series 18, Games 52 and 53
Progressive Field, Cleveland: 96, Pitcher's Park

Weather:  In Cincinnati, 70's to 80's and partly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms tomorrow. In Cleveland the rain should have passed with just a 30% chance  on Wednesday.

Monday , May 27 1:10 EDT (STO) 
Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 6.04)  vs. Mike Leake (4-2, 3.25)
The fun and games may be over for Ubaldo as he returned to his usual self in his last start. He allowed six runs and pitched less than five innings for the first time since April 16th. He won't get any respite against a tough Reds offense playing in one of the most home run friendly ballparks.
Leake has pitched well in his last few starts, but hasn't always faired well against the Tribe, holding a career 4.15 ERA in three starts. He has exceeded his norm in one part of his game against the Indians as they are the only team he has a K/9 of higher than 9 against. This game sets up to be a high scoring affair, so it will probably be a 1-0 shut out.
 
Tuesday, May 28 7:10 EDT (STO)
Zach McAllister (4-3, 2.89) vs. Mat Latos (4-0, 3.17)
This game will feature each team's best pitcher statistically to this point in the year. McAllister doesn't strike out many (Latos does), but he manages to throw an almost scoreless six innings every time out. The Indians bullpen is in disarray at the moment with Chris Perez placed on the disabled list and the heir apparant, Vinnie Pestano, in an unknown state. If this game is as close as it should be, the Indians will have to depend on Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith to finish the game out. The Reds have a tough bullpen as well (3.62 ERA), but they are beatable as they have already taken 10 losses as a unit and blown five saves.
 
Wednesday, May 29 7:05 EDT (STO)
Bronson Arroyo (5-4, 3.39) vs. Justin Masterson (7-3, 3.20)
Back in Cleveland, the Indians ace will take on the Reds long-haired, number two. Masterson had a slight set back in his last outing, but has generally been almost perfect all year. Arroyo did give up three runs last time out against the Cubs, but threw two shut-outs over 14 innings against the Brewers and Phillies just prior to that. Arroyo is not the top end strike out pitcher that the rest of the Cincinnati staff (and bullpen) are, but he still finds a way to get it done as he has since he came to the Reds from Boston in 2006.
 

Thursday, May 30 7:05 EDT (STO)
Homer Bailey (3-3, 3.08) vs. Scott Kazmir (L) (2-2, 5.94)
With Brett Myers just about set to come back and Corey Kluber pitching well in his last few outings, Kazmir could be the odd man out if he doesn't pick things back up again. Kazmir has been striking out batters at a ridiculous pace (ridiculous for a human being, but not for the pitcher ranked 12th all time in K/9), but has been giving up a lot of hits when they don't swing and miss. He is yet to make it past the sixth inning this year and has only given up less than two runs a single time, during his amazing 10 strike out performance against Oakland. Bailey on the other hand has left the game scoreless three times and has only pitched less than six innings in three of his ten starts. In his last three starts he has allowed just four runs in 22 innings with 21 strike outs. This will be a tough game for the Tribe, but will be winnable if Kazmir pitches at his best.

Prediction: The Indians would be best to hope for a sweep, but expect worse. Games 2 and 3 are the most winnable, while the other two look like far away long shots.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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