Monday, June 11, 2012

Battle of Ohio series preview

The Reds will look to wash away the sour taste of Sunday's national TV meltdown by starting out the annual Battle of Ohio on the right note. Always a fun series, this time around it will see the first-place Reds (32-27) take on the surprising Indians (32-27), a team just a half-game out in the AL Central. For the details, read on...

Tuesday, 7:10
Johnny Cueto (6-3, 2.63) vs. Jeanmar Gomez (4-4, 4.97)

Cueto began the season on a streak of five straight quality starts and will try to keep a new streak alive on Tuesday. He made two straight starts against the Pirates, taking a tough-luck loss on May 30 (seven innings, two runs) and earned the win in his last turn with 7.2 innings of three-run ball – and a couple of those runs scored on a home run given up after he left the game. He’s 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA lifetime vs. the Tribe.

Gomez began the year strong, but his low K-rate (29 strikeouts in 58 innings) suggested that luck wouldn’t last – and it hasn’t. He’s surrendered 6, 5 and 6 runs over his past three starts. He holds an ERA of over 5 in his road starts this year.

Wednesday, 7:10
Mike Leake (2-5, 4.97) vs. Derek Lowe (7-4, 3.72)

Speaking of deceiving lines, Leake gave up four runs in seven innings against Pittsburgh, but aside from one shaky inning and some extremely questionable defense behind him, Leake was strong for the fourth straight outing. He picked up a win in his only start against the Indians and as such, no Cleveland player has more than three at-bats against him.

Lowe has seen plenty of the Reds from his days in the NL and a couple of Reds have had success against him – most notably, Ryan Ludwick who has a .474 average with four home runs and 10 RBI against him. Joey Votto (.273) and Drew Stubbs (.573) also have enjoyed facing the veteran.

Thursday, 12:35
Mat Latos (4-2, 4.85) vs. Josh Tomlin (3-3, 4.96)

OK, I’m pretty sure back when the Latos trade went down in December that not many of you thought we’d get into mid-June and Latos would have an ERA of 4.85. The results haven’t been great, there’s really no other way to put it. Only four of his last 10 starts have been “quality” and the worst stat of all – in that time, he’s gone seven innings or more only three times. Not exactly ace material. The good news – he only threw 20 balls in his last start vs. the Tigers. Limiting the pitch count is the key to getting back on track here.

Tomlin has already stifled one NL Central opponent – tossing seven innings of two-run ball in a 6-2 win over the Cardinals on June 8. In his only start against the Reds, he earned a win by limiting the Redlegs to one run on three hits. Still, it’s a very small sample size – no Red has faced the right-hander more than three at-bats. 

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