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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Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – APRIL 18: Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Tribe offense lives and dies with the long ball.

Entering play today, the Indians 40 homers are good enough for third-most in the American League. However, the power has not been dispersed throughout much of the lineup. The trio of Jose Ramirez, Franmil Reyes, and Jordan Luplow account for 23 of those 40 round-trippers. As a whole, the Tribe offense doesn’t string together many hits and struggles to reach base.

As play got underway yesterday, their .209 team batting average ranks 13th among junior circuit squads, while their .289 on-base percentage comes in a lowly 12th position in the American League. As usual, third baseman Jose Ramirez has been the one consistent offensive threat.

Slashing .279/.374/.596 with nine homers and 18 RBIs, the switch-hitter has drawn15 walks while only going down on strikes 13 times. He’s also swiped four bases in as many attempts. There’s nothing on the field he can’t do.

Don’t be surprised if runs are hard to come by this weekend as the 211 hits allowed by the Cleveland pitching staff are the third-fewest in the AL. Additionally, the Tribe’s pitching staff has completely dismantled left-handed hitting.

Lefties are slashing an anemic .208/.292/.340 as of yesterday against Cleveland pitching. In addition, it would be in the Cincinnati Reds’ best interest to score early and often as the Indians bullpen has been fantastic.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona’s late-inning four-headed monster has overwhelmed the opposition. The quartet of Emmanuel Clase, James Karinchak, Cal Quantrill, and Bryan Shaw has allowed just eight earned runs in 56.2 innings.

Right-hander James Karinchak has been particularly devastating. Tossing 14 frames, he has a staggering 29 punch outs against two free passes. Only starting pitchers Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie have fanned more hitters than the 25-year-old Karinchak on the Tribe staff.