Cleveland Indians (67-51 SU, 57-61 RL, 60-54-4 O/U) vs. Cincinnati Reds (74-43 SU, 62-55 RL, 52-58-7 O/U)
MLB: Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at 7:10 p.m. EST
The Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians will wrap up a three-game series when they meet one more time at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Wednesday night. Cleveland took the opener on Monday, extending its winning streak to three. The Reds’ setback was their sixth in the last nine contests.
The Indians have scored 19 runs and 32 hits the last two games and look to continue the offensive surge when they pay another visit to Cincinnati. Jose Ramirez blasted his 35th homer among three of Cleveland’s 18 hits as the American League Central-leading Indians rolled to a 10-3 victory over the Redson Monday for a 10th win in their last 13 games. Leadoff hitter Francisco Lindor snapped out of a brief slump with two base-knocks in the opener and set a career-high with his 100th and 101st runs of the season. Jason Kipnis improved to 7-for-13 with four RBIs in the last three games. Utility man Yandy Diaz had a pinch-hit RBI double Monday and is 11-for-20 with five RBIs in six major-league contests in 2018.
Right-hander Shane Bieber (6-2, 4.24 ERA) is taking the mound for Cleveland on Wednesday. Bieber appears to be back on track following a couple of rough months, with one quality start and another that would have been if he had gotten one more out (two runs allowed in 5.2 innings) against the Angels on Aug. 5. The 23-year-old most recently faced the White Sox last Friday, when he logged 6.2 innings and surrendered no runs on three hits and two walks while striking out eight batters in a 1-0 loss by the Indians.
Second start for Stephenson
The Reds knocked three homers in the series opener, including the first since July 29 for all-star Scooter Gennett. But they gave up seven runs in the sixth inning to lose control of what was a tie game. Jose Peraza has hit safely in seven straight games for Cincinnati, while teammate Billy Hamilton is expected back in the lineup on Tuesday and Wednesday on the heels of a six-game hitting streak–during which he has stolen five bases. Joey Votto went 1-for-3 on Monday but left the game in the sixth inning with an undisclosed injury and will be evaluated.
Robert Stephenson (0-1, 6.75 ERA) will oppose Bieber on Wednesday. The Reds have moved to a six-man rotation, prompting them to call Stephenson up following some impressive performances in Triple-A ball. Stephenson’s 2018 major-league debut was a short one against the Mets last Wednesday, when he worked 4.0 innings and allowed three runs on three hits and five walks to go along with four strikeouts in an 8-0 loss by Cincinnati. The 25-year-old is saddled with a 5.5 walks per 9.0 innings ratio for his career in the bigs.
The Cincinnati Reds are:
- 4-9 in their last 13 overall
- 1-8 in their last nine games against right-handed starters
- 0-4 in their last four interleague games
- 1-4 in Stephenson’s last five starts
- 1-6 in their last seven home games against Cleveland
The Cleveland Indians are:
- 5-1 in their last six overall
- 5-1 in their last six road games
- 12-2 in their last 14 games against right-handed starters
- 73-26 in their last 99 games against teams with losing records
- 13-5 in their last 18 games against Cincinnat