Starting pitching will be key for the Reds who look for a series-split in the Ohio Cup vs. the Guardians

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer (17) catches a throw as Cleveland Guardians right fielder slides.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer (17) catches a throw as Cleveland Guardians right fielder slides. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
1 of 3

Reds Country, it was a week unlike any other. For starters, the Cincinnati Reds (9-26) had their first winning week of the year going 4-3 as they took two of three from the first-place Milwaukee Brewers before splitting a four-game set in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. However, that doesn't come close to telling the whole story.

After going 31 games to open the season without a quality start from their rotation, Cincinnati starters tossed three in four games in the Steel City. Unfortunately, the final of those quality starts will go down in the history books for all the wrong reasons.

To say rookie Hunter Greene was sensational on Sunday afternoon is a massive understatement. The fireballing right-hander held the Bucs hitless for 7.1 innings before yielding the mound to Art Warren who recorded two outs without allowing a base hit.

Amazingly, it wasn't enough because, for the sixth time since 1900, the Reds lost without allowing a hit as they fell to Pittsburgh 1-0. If there was ever a game that was a microcosm of the Redlegs' 2022 season, Sunday was certainly it.

Can the Reds earn a series-split in the Ohio Cup?

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Guardians (16-17) return to Progressive Field after dropping two of three over the weekend to the Minnesota Twins who Cleveland trails by three games in the American League Central. If history is any indication, the Reds are exactly what the doctor would prescribe to get the Guardians over the .500 mark.

To call the Reds and Guardians "rivals" is being incredibly generous. In actuality, Cleveland has dominated the series in the quest for the Ohio Cup. Since 1997 the Guardians own a decisive 71-54 advantage including a blistering 39-24 record at Progressive Field.

Additionally, Cincinnati has not won a series in Cleveland since 2018 and you have to go all the back to 2014 to find the last time the Reds captured the season series. After dropping the first two games of the Ohio Cup at Great American Ball Park in April, the best the Reds can do now is split the season series and hope for better results next year.