Final R H E
Cleveland Indians (69-51) 4 5 1
Cincinnati Reds (52-69) 3 10 0
W: Dan Otero (2-1)  L: Cody Reed (0-1) SV: Brad Hand (28)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread | Statcast

In a game that saw 15 hits and eight walks and lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours, only seven total runs were scored in the finale of the Ohio Cup. In the end, the result was the same for the Reds, who were swept at the hands of the Indians to drop the season series, 4-2.

Here’s how it all went down:

The Hitters

The Reds wasted no time getting on the board in this one after scoring just once the night before. Jose Peraza led the first inning off with a double and eventually scored on a two-out single by Scooter Gennett. The next batter, Preston Tucker, then blasted his first home run in a Cincinnati uniform.

Unfortunately, those would be the only runs the team scored on the night. The Reds chased Indians starter Shane Bieber from the game after just 4 1/3 innings, racking up seven hits and two walks in total against the rookie, but they couldn’t capitalize after the opening frame.

Their best opportunity came in the ninth inning, when Billy Hamilton led off with a single and Peraza followed with a ground-rule double to put runners on second and third with no outs. Joey Votto then hit a groundball to the first baseman, who was playing in, and Hamilton was thrown out at the plate. Eugenio Suarez then struck out and Gennett walked. That left the game in the hands of Curt Casali, who flew out with the bases loaded.

Peraza was the offensive MVP on the night, roping three doubles to give him 25 on the season. Tucker Barnhart and Hamilton also had two hits — a single and a double each — and Gennett had a pair of singles.

The Hurlers

Robert Stephenson, to put it kindly, was a mess tonight. As has been the case far too many times in his career, he could not consistently find the strike zone, throwing only 26 of 57 pitches for strikes. The problems started with the first batter of the game, when Stephenson issued a walk to Francisco Lindor. After giving up a single, he managed to get out of the jam with a flyout and a pair of strikeouts. His fate was not so fortunate in the second frame.

He again walked the leadoff batter in the second and wasn’t able to work around it that time. Stephenson uncorked a wild pitch, moving Jason Kipnis to second and allowing him to score on a single to the next batter. After a flyout, he walked the opposing pitcher on four pitches (again). Lindor then hit an RBI groundout, and Stephenson issued his fourth free pass of the day to Michael Brantley. That was all Jim Riggleman needed to see. Stephenson’s day was done after a miserable 1 2/3 innings, though he managed to only give up two runs.

That opened the door for Cody Reed to throw an extended outing and, a cheap GABP home run aside, he made the most of it. The left-hander cruised through his first 3 1/2 innings, giving up just one hit and striking out one. At one point, he retired eight consecutive hitters. He ran into trouble in the sixth inning when he allowed a leadoff walk — a rare lapse in control in his outing — followed by a home run to Melky Cabrera that had a hit probability of 19% and likely would’ve been a flyout in many other ballparks. He retired Kipnis before giving up a single and exiting the game. All in all, this was an encouraging showing from Reed.

Jared Hughes was the next man to emerge from the right-field bullpen. He proceeded to do what he’s done all year long, throwing 1 2/3 perfect innings and striking out two. Hughes now has a 1.31 ERA and 3.30 xFIP this season.

David Hernandez pitched a perfect eighth inning. Raisel Iglesias grazed the pant leg of a batter in the ninth but was otherwise perfect.

Not-So-Random Thoughts

  • The Reds have not won the Ohio Cup since 2014. Old friend Kristopher Negron was named the Most Outstanding Player of that series. Unsurprisingly, Jose Ramirez won the honors this time around.
  • Reed’s control has been significantly better in Triple-A this season (6.9 BB% vs. 12.7% last year), and that was on display tonight. Shameless plug alert: look out for an article from yours truly on his mechanical changes next Tuesday.
  • Peraza now leads the team in doubles after his outburst tonight, passing Gennett and Votto, who both have 24.
  • Riggleman has made a plethora of strange in-game management decisions, and he was at it again tonight. In the sixth inning, he used a double-switch to bring Hughes into the game, simultaneously subbing Mason Williams into the game for Tucker in right field. Williams was set to lead off the next inning, but Brandon Dixon was the one who took the at-bat. Williams played all of one out in the field before he was replaced. Unless he’s injured, it’s tough to come up with an explanation for that one. Perhaps Riggleman was trying to play matchups — the Indians brought in left-hander Tyler Olson to face the lefty Williams — but it’s a complete waste of a bench player in any scenario.
  • Rough, rough game for Suarez, who struck out a career-high five times. Even the team MVP will have bad nights.
  • Votto deserves credit for playing through his knee injury, but at this point, the Reds really need to consider the future and sit him until he’s healthy. There’s little sense in playing their star player in a meaningless season when he can barely jog to first base.

Up Next

Anthony DeSclafani (4.46 ERA, 4.15 xFIP) will toe the rubber Friday night as the Reds begin a three-game series at home against the San Francisco Giants. He’ll be opposed by Dereck Rodriguez (2.25 ERA, 4.00 xFIP), the son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who is quietly having a solid rookie campaign.


Photo credit: Sam Greene, Cincinnati Enquirer