Cincinnati Reds: Mystery starter revealed with Ohio Cup on the line

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 27: Tejay Antone #70 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 27: Tejay Antone #70 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA – MARCH 03: Cesar Hernandez #7 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The Indians pitching has kept the Reds bats quiet

Before the series at Great American Ball Park began, we discussed the Cleveland Indians inability to generate much offense and the past two nights did little to dispute those facts. Entering the Queen City, the club was last in the American League in homers, but even that number doesn’t tell the entire story.

Beginning play last night, Cleveland was also occupying the cellar in the junior circuit as a club with a .277 slugging percentage and .558 OPS. Additionally, the Indians are second from the bottom in doubles as well which makes scoring runs a monumental task for the squad.

Currently, Cleveland has four regulars in their lineup hitting .200 or below and three are sporting a horrific OBP of .283 or less. Furthermore, the team has not shown the ability to generate much havoc on the base paths. When the Indians have managed to put runners on the bases, they’ve swiped just two bags in four attempts.

As poor as the hitting has been, the pitching has been just the opposite. As evidenced by the two quality starts from Zach Plesac and Shane Bieber, the Indians are going to be in the game every night. What has been incredible is the staff’s ability to rack up strikeouts without allowing free passes.

Going into Tuesday night’s contest Cleveland pitchers lead the AL in strikeouts with 120 and have walked the fewest with just 16 base on balls. Their phenomenal K/BB rate of 7.50 is more than double their closest competitor in the American League.

If there’s one area the Cleveland hurlers are susceptible it’s the long ball. Just ask Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos. Their 15 round-trippers allowed are well above the American League average of 11 homers. Remarkably, the only homer they’ve surrendered with runners on base was Joey Votto’s game-winning two-run blast on Monday night.