The Cincinnati Reds continue to play quality baseball, as they tacked on another win last night by a score of 7-4. It was their second win in a row over the Indians, after defeating the Tribe for a 7-5 final on Monday. With the win last night, the Reds are going to come out as victors in the Battle of Ohio. There is no fourth game on Thursday, so all the Indians can hope for is to block a sweep by Cincinnati.
With a record of 49-41, the Indians still maintain a whopping 8.5-game lead in the AL Central. They face virtually no competition, with the next closest team the Twins at 40-49. In other words, the Indians have no pressure on them to perform well. They should be able to just coast through the second-half and still have a comfortable lead in the division.
This could be a double-edged sword for the Indians, though. If they go into the postseason feeling too comfortable and complacent, it’s going to be a quick trip for them. They have to get the competitive juices flowing, so maybe if the Twins make a run at them, it wouldn’t be the worst possible thing.
Going into the postseason cold without being tested isn’t ideal. Oh well, they’ll at least have an easier road than the Red Sox or Yankees, who will likely, have to win the play-in game as a wildcard. It’s unfortunate that one of those teams must enter as a wildcard, but the Indians will get to bypass the wildcard as winners of the AL Central. Carlos Carrasco will get the starting nod for the Indians on Wednesday. The Reds will go with the youngster, Tyler Mahle. Get our free Reds vs. Indians pick below.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Cleveland Indians Pick
Tyler Mahle (7-6, 3.66 ERA) vs. Carlos Carrasco (9-5, 4.28 ERA)
The Cincinnati Reds looked like a dumpster fire over the first two months of the season. However, just about around the same time Joey Votto voiced his displeasure publicly, the team started to play much better baseball. Votto along with Scooter Gennett, and Euganio Suarez will all be heading to the All-Star Game. They have been mashing the ball, with a combined 42 long balls between the three of them. Votto needed some help, and Gennett and Suarez have been delivering.
The Reds have averaged 7 runs per game over their last ten games, with the offense improving drastically from before. Carlos Carrasco, who the Indians need to pick it up, will get a start on Wednesday. He’s especially been bad at home, with an ERA of 5.48 and .341 OBA. The Reds are hitting .302 against Carrasco in 43 at-bats. Suarez and Votto have both taken him deep. Suarez hitting .333 and Votto .455 in 19 at-bats combined.
Another issue for the Indians has been their bullpen. When they were going to the World Series, that aspect of their game was significantly better. Andrew Miller was healthy and an auto-out on the mound. If he returns and plays at a high level, the Indians will get an instant boost. As it is now, they are 28th in the majors with a team ERA of 5.13.
It’s crazy to think that a team with their bullpen playing that badly is likely going to win a division. They will have to get to Tyler Mahle on Wednesday, who has been performing well in his first full-year in the major leagues. I will say, though, he has been getting out of many close calls on the road. He owns a 1.53 WHIP and .349 OBA on the road. His ERA isn’t so bad at 3.44, though. Putting that many on the bases is skating on thin ice, though, eventually it’s going to crack. The OVER has gone 25-7-2 in the Indians’ previous 34 home games, so there have been some runs on the board at Progressive. Such a brutal beat in the Athletics-Astros game last night, but I think we can come back nicely with a winning day on Wednesday. For this pick, I like the OVER.