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) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 4
Next
Wade Miley #22 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – APRIL 18: Wade Miley #22 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Indians

Left-hander Wade Miley (3-2 2.67 ERA) gets the call in game one opposing Zach Plesac (2-3 4.78 ERA) of the Indians. It’s safe to say Miley is looking for a better showing against Cleveland than their previous matchup last month in Cincinnati.

Easily his worst start of the 2021 season, the Reds’ left-hander allowed four runs on five hits in five innings of work, including two home runs as both Jose Ramirez and Roberto Perez took Miley deep. Look for Terry Francona to feature a heavily right-handed lineup against the Cincinnati southpaw.

Miley has allowed only one hit in 14 at-bats versus lefties this year. Interestingly, catcher Tucker Barnhart has been behind the dish for each of Miley’s starts this year. Don’t expect to see Reds manager David Bell breaking up this tandem anytime soon.

More from Blog Red Machine

Cleveland right-hander Zach Plesac has been treated rudely in his two starts against the Redlegs. Taking the loss in both outings, Plesac has allowed five home runs in 12.1 frames versus Cincinnati batters. Luckily for Plesac, he won’t have to face Joey Votto, who has left the yard twice in their four encounters.

Luis Castillo (1-3 6.07 ERA), who has continued to struggle, will go tomorrow night, while Terry Francona counters with Aaron Civale (4-0 3.20 ER). The 2021 season has been a nightmare thus far for La Piedra, with only one quality start to his credit in six opportunities.

Even though his first-inning issues have been well documented, there are other concerning numbers to keep Reds Country up at night regarding Castillo. His once devastating change-up has not been nearly as effective this year.

According to FanGraphs, Castillo is throwing his change-up a career-high 39% of the time despite losing more than a mile per hour (88.4 compared to 87.3) in velocity from last year. Good fortune has not been Castillo’s friend as well. Hitters are making contact 68.8% of the time when swinging at pitches outside the strike zone against La Piedra compared to the 51.8% MLB average per Fangraphs.

Cleveland’s Aaron Civale will be making his first career start against the Reds. If the Redlegs are to have success against Civale, getting to him early is the key. The Clevland right-hander has been touched for 10 runs and 18 hits through the first three innings while holding opponents to a combined five runs and 11 hits once the middle frames begin in six appearances this season.

Sunday’s series finale matinee will feature Tyler Mahle (1-1 3.23 ERA) squaring off against Sam Hentges (1-0 5.00 ERA), making his first MLB start. Mahle’s last trip to the mound was far and away, his worst start of the young season.

Lasting just five innings in what essentially amounted to a home run derby, he was rocked for nine hits and three home runs in Cincinnati’s eventual 13-12 extra-inning victory last Sunday against the Cubs. That was not the version of Tyler Mahle Reds Country has become accustomed to seeing.

Let’s hope this start goes better than the right-hander’s last trip to Cleveland.  The Indians chased Mahle in the third inning after surrendering seven runs, five earned, in 19-4 drubbing at the hands of the Tribe. How bad was it? Alex Blandino was the only Cincinnati “pitcher” unscored upon that day.

Southpaw Matt Hentges’ heart will be racing Sunday, as he makes his first start in the big leagues. Tossing nine innings in relief this year, he’s been taken deep four times by right-handed hitters. Look for David Bell to load the lineup with righties for the series finale.