Reds Up 2-1 on Indians in Ohio Cup
The battle for Ohio supremacy took another turn on Wednesday night. One night after falling to the Reds, thanks in part to an all-time classic umpiring gaffe, the Indians got beat up and shut down by Mat Latos. This should have come as no surprise with the series shifting to Great American Ballpark the next two nights. After all, heading into play the Tribe had lost six straight games in Cincinnati.
Well, now we can make it seven straight.
Things got off to a rough start for the Indians and their starter, Danny Salazar. After a handful of successful starts since returning from his Triple-A exhile, Salazar was due for a clunker. The wheels fell off in a hurry during a three run second inning. With two outs and two men on base, Salazar allowed the number eight hitter Zack Cozart to take him deep. On a 2-2 pitch, Salazar gave in and laid a hanging slider out over the plate. Cozart didn’t miss, knocking the ball off the left field foul pole for his third homer of the year. With two outs, two strikes and a pitcher on deck, allowing the homer was about as close to a baseball mortal sin as you could get.
Things only got worse from there in the bottom of the fourth. With Brayan Pena on first, Kris Negron took Salazar deep for his third home run of the year. The two run shot put the Reds up by a score of 5-0. Salazar would go on to record the final out of the inning and was ultimately replaced by Nick Hagadone at the start of the fifth.
Also worth noting, Salazar was sent back to Triple-A after Wednesday night’s game to make room for C.C. Lee. With the way the schedule plays out over the next few days, the Indians were afforded the opportunity to make the Salazar for Lee swap to help bolster their bullpen. Salazar will return to the rotation sometime next week.
Two innings later the Reds seemingly put the game out of reach. An RBI single by the aforementioned Cozart put Cincinnati up 6-0. A handful of batters later, Todd Frazier doubled in two more runs off of Marc Rzepczynski to make it an 8-0 game.
It was at the point the Indians decided they were going to try to get themselves back into the game. Unfortunately, it would prove to be too little too late. Yan Gomes, who is in the midst of an epic hot streak right now, homered to start the top half of the eighth inning. The solo shot ended Latos’ attempt at a shutout. A few batters later Ryan Raburn doubled home Mike Aviles and Jason Kipnis to make it an 8-3 game and send Latos to the showers.
Speaking of Mat Latos, he was fantastic on Wednesday night. Over the course of 7.2 innings of work, he allowed three runs on six hits while walking only two batters and striking out five. Up until the eighth inning, Latos was nearly unhittable. It wasn;t until he got up past the 100 pitch mark that the Indians offense was able to put together any type of rally. He was the primary reason for the Reds victory on Wednesday night.
However, Latos was not the only reason. The Reds’ two-out hitting was top-notch, scoring their first 5 runs of the game with two outs. In addition, the bottom of the lineup went 6-for-10 with six runs scored, six RBI, and two game changing home runs. That folks, is a recipe for disaster, particularly against a National League team in a National League ballpark.
The Indians will look to bounce back and even up the Ohio Cup with the series finale on Thursday. Homer Bailey will take the mound for the Reds against T.J. House of the Indians. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10.