Cincinnati Reds: Robert Stephenson will have his hands full tonight

Starter Robert Stephenson needs to show that the Cincinnati Reds made the right move bringing him up to the big leagues. However, he faces a tough task tonight against the Indians.

Robert Stephenson gets another attempt tonight to show the Cincinnati Reds that he can be a key part of the starting rotation going forward. Stephenson will, however, have his hands full as he goes up against the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians have won the first two games of a three-game series to decide who takes home the Ohio Cup this year, and Cleveland has been dominant in those two games. The Reds have been outscored 4-18 in the last two games and 22-46 in the five games against the Indians this season.

While the offense has been underwhelming, the Reds’ pitching has not been stellar against the Indians either. Sal Romano gave up 6 runs on 7 hits through 1.2 innings last night, and Monday’ starter Homer Bailey pitched 5.1 innings and was rocked for 5 runs on 10 hits.

In the previous series against Cleveland, both Anthony DeSclafani and Sal Romano pitched well against the Indians. Disco only allowed one run in his start back on July 9th in Cleveland. Big Sally went 7.1 innings the following day, and after allowing two homers in the first inning, settled into a groove after a Francisco Lindor RBI made the score 4-0 in the bottom of the second inning.

Tyler Mahle, who is now at Triple-A Louisville, was dismantled early during the final game of the series in Cleveland. Mahle surrendered 7 runs, 5 of them earned in 2.1 innings pitched. His replacement, Tanner Rainey, didn’t fare any better. Rainey walked 3 batters in 0.2 innings and allowed 8 runs on 5 hits including 2 home runs.

Tonight, the Cincinnati Reds will turn to Robert Stephenson to see if he can silence the Indians’ bats. Hopefully, for Stephenson, tonight’s start goes better than his previous outing against the New York Mets. Stephenson went only 4 innings in his first start this season last Wednesday against the Mets. He allowed 3 runs, on 3 hits while striking out 4 and walking 5.

If Stephenson wants to be a big league pitcher, he’s got to prove he can keep the ball over the plate. Walks have plagued Stephenson throughout his career in the Minor Leagues and when he gets his chances at the Majors, he struggles giving up free passes as well.

Stephenson is out of options after this year, and there’s a lot of talented young arms at the Reds’ disposal. If Stephenson can’t get it right and put together several impressive outings before the season ends, he may be looking elsewhere for a starting gig. It starts tonight against one of the most potent offensive teams in the American League.

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The Indians are second in the AL in batting, second in home runs, and third in RBIs. This club can put runs on the board, so if Stephenson is able to keep the Indians’ bats at bay, he’ll have shown he can compete against the big boys.