Regardless of the landscape to this offbeat 2020 season, the Cleveland Indians keep finding ways to beat the Cincinnati Reds.
Looking for a third straight win over their interleague Ohio rivals, the Indians close out a four-game, home-and-home series with the Reds on Thursday night in Cleveland.After Cincinnati rallied for a 3-2 home win on Monday, the Indians pulled out a comeback 4-2 victory on Tuesday. With the series shifting to Cleveland on Wednesday night, the Indians scraped out two runs in the fifth inning while Mike Clevinger and four relievers allowed just three hits in a 2-0 triumph over the Reds.
Though Cleveland has totaled 12 runs and hit .143 amid a 3-5 stretch, it will aim for a third straight win. It's helped that Indians' pitchers have a 2.21 staff ERA.
Also, since the start of the 2015 season, the Indians are 20-7 versus Cincinnati, which has lost nine of 13 at Cleveland during that span.
"As long as we keep at it, stick to the process and keep working hard, I think good things are gonna happen," pitcher Shane Bieber told the Indians' official website.
Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 3.75 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Indians on Thursday. He allowed three solo homers plus three other hits in six innings of a 3-0 loss at Minnesota on Saturday.
"Keep the faith," Carrasco told the Indians' official website. "Some days, we're going to have some ups and downs."
The right-hander is 3-0 with a 4.05 ERA in five starts against the Reds, whom he last faced in 2018. Cincinnati star Joey Votto is 6 for 13 with two doubles and a home run versus Carrasco.
Nick Castellanos is a .233 career hitter against Carrasco, but is batting .366 while hitting safely in all 12 games to begin his Reds tenure.
Meanwhile, scheduled Cincinnati starter Luis Castillo (0-1, 4.50 ERA), pushed back a day, was solid in allowing just one run and striking out 11 over six innings versus Detroit in his 2020 debut. However, on Friday against the Tigers, the right-hander gave up five runs and eight hits over six innings of a 7-2 loss to the Tigers.
"My sinker, my changeup, my fastball were all working well," Castillo told the Reds' official website. "And what happened was, when people weren't on base was when they hit me, and eventually they got clutch hits afterwards.
"It just kind of happens," he said.
In his only outing against the Indians on June 11, 2019, Castillo allowed a solo homer to Carlos Santana and three other hits over six innings of a 2-1, 10-inning loss at Cleveland.
Santana has endured a rough start, batting .171 with 13 strikeouts. Teammate Cesar Hernandez, meanwhile, has hit safely in four straight games and is batting .302 on the young season.
The Indians were without manager Terry Francona for a fourth consecutive contest Wednesday, due to a reported gastrointestinal issue. Though the team does not believe it is related to COVID-19, his return to the dugout is still uncertain.
Cincinnati infielder Mike Moustakas could return from sitting out Wednesday's game after leaving Tuesday with a bruised quadriceps.
--Field Level Media