Covering the Bases: Game 62
Reds 12, Indians 5
FIRST: Let’s focus on the positive out of the gates. Shin-Soo Choo launched a pair of home runs in Thursday’s game, marking his seventh career multi-homer game with his second career leadoff homer coming in the first inning.
“You hit two homers. Good,” Choo said. “But, for me and for everybody, when we lose, especially like in this situation, trying to catch first place, when you lose three games straight, that’s not a good thing.”
True, it’s tough to think positive after being pounded thrice on the banks of the Ohio River.
Cleveland’s road trip started off so well. The Tribe took two out of three in both Detroit and St. Louis before waltzing into Cincinnati and being broomed back to Cuyahoga County. It was a similar tale on Thursday, when Choo’s leadoff bomb came in a two-run first inning to spot the Indians a quick lead.
You can glance at the final score to know what happened next.
Here’s how it al broke down in the three games: the Reds out-scored and out-hit the Indians 24-9 and 37-26, respectively. Cleveland went 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position (0-for-10 Thursday), while Cincinnati went 12-for-39 with RISP (7-for-19 Thursday). The Tribe’s rotation (6.00 ERA) and ‘pen (12.00 ERA) were both torched.
SECOND: The bulk of the damage was done by the one-two punch of Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. Combined, the Reds suggers went 12-for-23 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in the series. On Thursday, Votto went 1-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs and Phillips went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs.
That improved Dat Dude’s (Phillips) career showing against the Indians — the team that traded him away in April 2006 — to .356 (53-for-149) with nine homers, six doubles and 30 RBIs in 38 games.
“It always feels good to beat up on your old team,” Phillips said. “Regardless of who you’re playing, I try to do what’s best for the team and try to get as many wins as possible. Deep down inside, personally to myself, yeah it’s good to beat up on the Tribe.
“They’re moving in the right direction. Manny Acta is a great manager. I knew him when I was with the Expos. He’s doing a great job with those guys. I don’t have anything towards them anymore because a majority of their coaching staff is not there anymore. So, go Tribe.”
THIRD: Last season, Josh Tomlin reached 37 consecutive career appearances with at least five innings logged, marking a modern day Major League record. This year, He’s gone less than five innings three times already. The latest lapse came in a four-inning outing on Thursday.
Tomlin gave up six runs (three on a Votto homer in the first inning) on 10 hits. In six of his 10 outings this season, the righty has given up at least four runs. Over his past four starts, Tomlin has given up 17 earned runs over 22 innings (6.95 ERA).
“He just didn’t have it today,” Acta said of Tomlin’s latest loss. “His cutter was a little flat and they had a very good approach against him, especially the right-handed hitters. At the beginning of the game, his curveball wasn’t there. He kind of stopped throwing it a little bit and became predictable.”
HOME: End on a good note. In the seventh inning, Michael Brantley doubled to extend his career-best hitting streak to 21 games. That marks the longest run in the Majors this season and the longest in baseball since Dan Uggla’s 33-gamer last year. It’s the longest streak for a Tribesman since Casey Blake went 26 games in 2007.
“That’s one good thing going right now,” Acta said.
Pirates (32-29)* at Indians (32-30)
at 7:05 p.m. ET Friday at Progressive Field
*Does not include Thursday’s result