Reds' leadoff options vs. Pirates starter Mitch Keller aren't great without TJ Friedl

Will Jonathan India leadoff against the Pirates' starter?

Cincinnati Reds players Jonathan India and Jake Fraley
Cincinnati Reds players Jonathan India and Jake Fraley / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds scored a boatload of runs on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates — including a two-run homer off the bat of Elly De La Cruz that landed on the steamboat above the batters' eye at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds tacked on 11 runs in a thrashing of the Pirates and will look to make it two in a row against the Buccos on Tuesday. But manager David Bell has a bit of a conundrum without TJ Friedl on the active roster.

The Reds lost Friedl to a hamstring injury over the weekend, and the Reds' centerfielder was replaced by career-minor leaguer Levi Jordan. With right-hander Mitch Keller on the bump for the Pirates, what might Bell's lineup card look like?

Reds' leadoff options vs. Pirates starter Mitch Keller aren't great without TJ Friedl

Bell plugged India into the leadoff spot on Monday night against Pirates' left-hander Bailey Falter. The Reds second baseman responded with a 3-for-4 night and looked quite comfortable back atop Cincinnati's lineup.

India has a career 1.076 OPS against Keller, so Bell may go back to the former NL Rookie of the Year on Tuesday night. But this season against right-handed pitching, India is hitting just .225/.338/.343. Those aren't ideal stats for your leadoff hitter.

Bell's only other option would be Jake Fraley. The left-handed hitting outfielder is 40-for-147 against right-handers this season with nine extra-base hits. Fraley has a .273 batting average against Keller, but the Reds' outfielder has lacked any and all power this season with a meager .350 slugging percentage.

Bell's options aren't great, but it's quite likely that India will get the call on Tuesday. Moving Fraley up in the batting order would require Bell to shift India down to at least No. 5, and with an OPS against Keller over 1.000, that seems rather unwise.

In terms of a leadoff hitter, India may be the best of what the Reds have at the moment. While not ideal, India had success on Monday and has shown the ability to handle such a role in the past. The more pressing question may be whether or not Will Benson is in the lineup. The Reds outfielder is hitless in his last 21 at-bats.

More Cincinnati Reds News and Rumors