Reds vs. Indians: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

CINCINNATI, OHIO - APRIL 18: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - APRIL 18: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Tejay Antone #70 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch.
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 06: Tejay Antone #70 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The final series in the Reds’ quest for the Ohio Cup moves to Cleveland.

Somehow the Cincinnati Reds (14-15) split their brief two-game set with the Chicago White Sox despite being outscored 9-1 in the series. Unfortunately, the Redlegs inability to consistently score runs is becoming a trend.

Don’t let the numbers fool you. The Cincinnati offense cannot be trusted on a nightly basis. Even though the Reds lead the National League averaging 5.4 runs a contest, the runs tend to come in bunches.

Cincinnati has already scored more the 10 runs in a game six times through their first 29 contests. However, the Reds offense has also been blanked five times and failed to score more than two runs in three of their last four games.

Beginning today, Cincinnati embarks on a 10-game road trip that will force their meager offensive road numbers to make a major leap to fend off disaster. Through their first 12 games as visitors, the Reds offense has simply not shown up.

Producing a slash line of .202/.267/.333, the Redlegs have rightfully earned their poor 4-8 road mark. Being without the services of Joey Votto will not help. The legendary first baseman broke his left thumb in Wednesday’s victory over the White Sox and is expected to miss several weeks.

This road trip is a pivotal early-season test for the Cincinnati Reds as they sit just 2.5 games back in a competitive National League Central. With seven of the 10 games against last-place clubs in the Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies, this could be one of the rare trips where Cincinnati returns home in better shape than they left it.

Before Cincinnati sets its sights on the cellar dwellers, they will face the hottest team in baseball in the Cleveland Indians. Winners of five straight and eight of their last 10, the Indians (17-13) have vaulted into first place in the American League Central a half-game in front of the White Sox.

Following the Reds taking the first series between the two clubs last month at Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati has the opportunity to claim their first outright Ohio Cup victory since the 2014 season. However, the Redlegs will need to re-write history as they are just 23-37 when visiting Northeast Ohio.