- Derek Lowe (7-5, 3.78 ERA/4.25 SIERA) vs. Mat Latos (5-2, 4.64/3.87)
- Josh Tomlin (3-4, 5.56/4.17) vs. Mike Leake (2-5, 5.05/3.90)
- Justin Masterson (3-6, 4.38/4.11) vs. Bronson Arroyo (3-4, 3.84/3.82)
Game one has the potential to be a good one. Not only is Derek Lowe versus Mat Latos an interesting match-up on paper, but throw in the added drama surrounding last week’s mini-scuffle and we could see some serious fireworks. Latos comes into tonight’s game having won three of his last five starts, including an outstanding performance against the Indians in which he went seven innings and gave up only two runs. Going up against Lowe, his apparent archenemy, for a second straight outing might motivate him to throw another quality start.
As for Derek Lowe, tonight’s game might come down to pride. After the statements made by both Latos and Reds manager Dusty Baker, Lowe is going to be out for vengeance. He’s a veteran with a résumé about a mile long. Players like Lowe don’t take kindly to having their work ethic and reputation dragged through the mud. Simply put, don’t be surprised if we see Lowe pitch a gem tonight.
Game two is also a rematch from a week ago as Josh Tomlin takes on Mike Leake. In their prior match-up, Leake was able to make it through only 4.1 somewhat ineffective innings, though in his defense he was coming off of being sick. He gave up three runs, including two home runs, and forced the Reds bullpen to pick up the slack. However, Leake is capable of going seven or eight innings on any given day. It just depends on which version shows up: the one with the dominating arsenal of pitches or the one who gives up home runs in bunches.
Meanwhile, Josh Tomlin hasn’t been the same pitcher since coming off of the disabled list. Since returning to action he’s given up five home runs—a lot even by his standards—and given up 17 runs in four outings. Control hasn’t been an issue, but he’s not getting nearly as many swings and misses. Prior to going on the DL Tomlin was striking out almost six batters per start; since returning that has dropped to two. That begs the question: Is Tomlin fully healthy? I don’t think so, and his recent issues are indicative that something isn’t right with him.
Wednesday’s game will offer a match-up we didn’t see last week as Justin Masterson takes on Bronson Arroyo. This has been a frustrating year for Arroyo. Whule his current record sits at 3-4, he’s been pitching a lot better than you’d think. He’s major issue has been a lack of run support. In his four losses he’s given up a total of 18 runs while the Reds have scored only five. Given the run totals the Reds offense is capable of putting up, Arroyo has to be wondering when it’ll be his turn to be on the receiving end of a 10 or 12 run outburst.
Unfortunately for Arroyo, that outburst probably won’t come on Wednesday as the Indians will send Justin Masterson to the mound. Over his last three starts Masterson is finally beginning to look like the 2011 version of himself, holding opponents to three, one, and zero runs, respectively, and he’s rediscovered his control of the strike zone. Unfortunately, he’s only won one of the three as run support continues to be a problem for him, but it’s hard not to feel encouraged by what we’ve seen out of him of late. If he can keep it up, it might just help turn around this poor stretch of baseball the Indians have found themselves in.