Rivalry week continues in Cleveland between the Cincinnati Reds and Indians at Progressive Field. This is a rivalry where a trophy is awarded to the team who wins the most games by the end of the regular season. It’s a little known series known as the Ohio Cup. The trophy is essentially meaningless, though, with about as much meaning behind it as the Great Lakes Freighter Trophy previously given out to the winner of a preseason game between the Browns and Lions.
The Indians have gone 3-0-1 in the series over the Reds in the last four years. Cleveland also won their division the last two years, while the Reds have been a bottom team in the NL Central. It isn’t easy to keep up with the Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals.
Despite nabbing Yasiel Puig hasn’t changed much thus far. They’re last in the division and trail the Cubs and Brewers by 8 games for 1st place. Certainly, a better team than last season when they were at the bottom of the majors at this point in the year, but I think they had more expectations when they acquired Puig from the Dodgers.
With a record of 29-35, the Reds will be pressed with a decision to make on a Puig trade. Matt Kemp was involved in the trade as well and he had a short career in Cincinnati, getting released and ending up on the Mets roster. The Dodgers look like the big winners of the trade thus far.
Cincinnati avoided a sweep over the weekend and avoided a four-game losing streak in the process. They beat the Phillies by a score of 4-3 behind another stellar effort by Sonny Gray. Conversely, the Indians had their sweep attempt blocked on Sunday. Trevor Bauer will get the nod on Tuesday, as he is likely going to find himself as trade bait coming up.
After a couple of dazzling starts this season, Bauer has been a major letdown and hasn’t been able to make up for the absence of Corey Kluber. Luis Castillo, who has been having a breakout campaign, will counter for the Reds. Head below for our free Reds vs. Indians pick.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Cleveland Indians Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Trevor Bauer looked like a guy ready to take over as an ace in Cleveland to open the year. He allowed just 1 run in his first two games, but has since watched his ERA and numbers go north. He’s allowed 7 earned runs twice and has found it difficult to get something consistent going on the bump. Bauer is coming off a lackluster performance against the Twins, as he allowed 5 runs in a 5-4 loss. Bauer was tagged for 3 home runs, a season-high for him in 2019. In his previous three outings he posted an ERA of 3.86.
Bauer has been struggling at home, but he has been doing quite good on the road. Note that Bauer carries an ERA of 2.42 and 1.12 WHIP as a visitor this season, while his effort on the road hasn’t ben as strong with a 5.61 ERA. His ability to keep the ball down has been a concern in Cleveland. Bauer has already surrendered 9 long balls at Progressive Field. The Reds are hitting .279 with a .342 OBP against Bauer in 68 at-bats. Puig has seen Bauer twice and one of the at-bats resulted in a deep ball.
Castillo has been good pretty well everywhere he’s been. Other than a couple trouble spots against the Giants and Brewers, Castillo has been locked in and is on pace for a sizable pay increase. He enters with a 2.38 ERA and 1.10 WHIP overall. On the road he’s still been good, posting an ERA of 2.78 and perfect record of 3-0. Castillo gives the Reds the edge in this game over Bauer. I’m not inclined to want to take Bauer as a favorite over Castillo in this spot. Castillo has been undervalued all season long and this looks like another instance. Consider going with the Reds to win the first game of the Ohio Cup.