After a doubleheader sweep of the Tigers on Sunday, the Cincinnati Reds (4-5) are right back in the division race and now kick off the week with four games against the Cleveland Indians (5-5) in an effort to take back the Ohio Cup. The first two games in the ‘Nati vs. the ‘Land series will be played at Great American Ballpark, followed by two games in Cleveland.

First pitch for tonight’s game is at 6:40 ET unknown as it’s currently in a delayed start due to impending rain. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Ohio and on MLB Network for those out-of-market. For the radio listeners, it can be found on 700 WLW.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA FIP xFIP WHIP K% BB%
Zach Plesac 8.0 0.00 0.32 1.67 0.38 40.7% 0.0%
Sonny Gray 12.2 0.71 1.89 1.14 0.55 44.4% 6.7%

             Zach Plesac’s 2019 Stats | Sonny Gray’s 2019 Stats

Zach Plesac

In his only outing of the season thus far, Plesac pitched eight brilliant innings against the Chicago White Sox, giving up just three hits while striking out 11 and walking zero. While his 2020 stats might be a little inflated due to small sample size, he had a decent rookie season in 2019. In 115.2 innings, Plesac had a 3.81 ERA while striking out 88 and walking 40 batters. He was a little prone to giving up home runs, as he gave up 19 in 21 starts and his HR/9 was 1.48, much higher than what it was during his minor league seasons.

Plesac relies on four pitches: a four seamer, changeup, slider and curve ball. Last season, he threw his four seamer and his change up most often, but in his first start of 2020, he relied on his slider much more than his change up, throwing it 33 percent of the time. His velocity sits around the low to mid-90s for his fastball and the mid-80s for his breaking pitches.

Sonny Gray

Aside from throwing back-to-back no hitters, I’m not sure Gray could have had a better start to the 2020 season than his first two outings. In 12.2 innings, he’s allowed only four hits, one of which was a home run to C.J. Cron on Opening Day, and three walks while striking out 20 batters.

Gray throws five pitches, but he’s rarely thrown his change-up yet this year. He’s been mainly relying on fastballs and the slider, with the curve ball mixed in a little. Gray’s been able to locate his pitches very well, while getting hitters to chase his slider.

(Side note: if you’re on Twitter and you don’t follow Rob Friedman, aka Pitching Ninja, you are missing out).

Lineups

INDIANS REDS
1. Cesar Hernandez (2B)
2. Jose Ramirez (3B)
3. Francisco Lindor (SS)
4. Carlos Santana (1B)
5. Franmil Reyes (DH)
6. Daniel Johnson Jr. (RF)
7. Oscar Mercado (CF)
8. Sandy Leon (C)
9. Greg Allen (LF)
1. Shogo Akiyama (CF)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Nicholas Castellanos (RF)
4. Mike Moustakas (2B)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Jesse Winker (LF)
7. Freddy Galvis (SS)
8. Christian Colon (DH)
9. Tucker Barnhart (C)

One day after self-reporting symptoms and missing Sunday’s game, Joey Votto is back in the lineup. I’m happy he self-reported his symptoms, but I’m even happier to see that it appears to have been allergies or something similar.

Nick Senzel was scratched from the lineup because of his sprained finger. Christian Colon was placed in the lineup and the DH/outfielders were moved around.

Eugenio Suarez has a home run off Plesac in his career.

News and Notes

Nick Castellanos was named NL Player of the Week for helping the Reds beat his former teams.

Trevor Bauer had a lot to say about the delay and postponement on Saturday after his 7-inning complete game shutout last night. I don’t blame him for being upset about the situation.

Here’s a reason why the Reds pitchers so good right now: These pitchers are spinning, spinning, spinning. (Ok, that was my attempt at being witty….fail). There are a few relievers I was surprised to see on the lists in this article. It gives me hope that the bullpen will figure it out soon enough.