The Cincinnati Reds continue their series against their Ohio rivals, the Cleveland Indians, Tuesday night in Cincinnati. The Indians won Monday’s series opener 10-3. Cleveland is also a heavy -230 favorite to win Tuesday’s game.
The Indians continue to run away with the AL Central. They are not quite on par with the top teams in the American League in terms of record, but they are 16 games over .500 and hold a comfortable 12.5-game lead atop the division. The Indians have also won 10 of their last 13 games, so they are playing well despite having no pressure on them whatsoever.
The Reds, meanwhile, sit in last place in the NL Central and are playing out the season once again. However, their record is a little misleading. They’ve leveled off quite a bit after a disastrous April and in terms of their quality, they can be considered a little closer to a .500 team than their record would indicate.
Cy Young Chasing
Corey Kluber will get the start for Cleveland on Tuesday. Kluber is in the midst of another excellent season that has him in contention for the Cy Young award. In 24 starts, Kluber is 14-6 with a 2.74 ERA. However, he’s had some uneven starts lately, with two losses and two no-decisions over his last six starts. Of course, he also has a complete game shutout over that span, so he’s capable of dominating a lineup any time out.
Naturally, Kluber is little experience against most of the Reds’ hitters. Somehow, Joey Votto is 5 for 7 with two doubles in his career against Kluber. The Reds also have a number of promising young hitters in their lineup who will get their first crack at facing Kluber. Jose Peraza, Tucker Barnhart, and Phillip Ervin, in particular, have all come on strong lately.
Starting for the Reds will 24-year old Sal Romano. In 22 starts and two relief appearances this year, Romano is 7-9 with a 4.94 ERA. He’s had plenty of rough moments as you’d expect from a young pitcher, but he’s also flashed plenty of promise at times.
Romano is also just over a month removed from facing the Indians. In that game, he gave up four runs over the first two innings, including a pair of home runs to Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez. However, he eventually settled in and ended up pitching 7.1 innings. Of course, repeating the last few innings of that start will be difficult. In addition to Lindor and Ramirez, Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, and Yonder Alonso are all hitters capable of hurting him. Left-handed hitters have hurt him a lot more than righties this year, something that plays into Cleveland’s favor.
Not So Obvious
At first glance, it’s hard not to pick the Indians to win this game. After all, they have a Cy Young candidate on the mound and a more dangerous lineup. However, at -230, there is no upside to picking the Indians. If the Reds win, which is unlikely but not impossible, there is a much higher payout. Bet on the Reds +230 to beat the Indians on Tuesday.