Indians-Reds Preview

The Cleveland Indians have tormented the Cincinnati Reds’

starting pitching this season.

It’s been Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona, however, who has had a

rough time getting opponents out.

Looking to shake an extended slump, Carmona takes the mound for

visiting Cleveland as it tries to continue its recent domination of

Cincinnati on Saturday when the teams continue a three-game

set.

The Indians (43-37), who took all three meetings while

outscoring their in-state rival 19-9 in May, picked up right where

they left off, recording their highest run total in a month with

Friday’s 8-2 victory.

“We took the (overall) series, and hopefully we can take a few

more games,” winning pitcher Justin Masterson said.

Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Grady Sizemore each homered

against Bronson Arroyo, whose eight runs allowed raised the

Cincinnati starter’s ERA to 9.15 in the series this year.

Cleveland, which regained the AL Central lead, has taken five

straight from the Reds dating to last season, but will likely need

to get a better effort out of Carmona (4-10, 5.89 ERA) to extend

its run.

Carmona has lost seven of eight decisions while compiling an

8.58 ERA since May 19, owning both the worst record and the most

losses in the majors over that span.

The right-hander has been especially bad on the road during that

time frame, going 1-4 with a 9.75 ERA in five outings. He allowed

three runs and seven hits over six innings of Sunday’s 3-1 defeat

at San Francisco but was encouraged by his performance.

“I’m happy, because I pitched much better,” he said.

While Carmona has lost three consecutive interleague outings

with a 9.20 ERA, he has posted a solid 2.70 mark in two lifetime

starts against a Reds team which is 5-11 against the AL this

season.

Cincinnati (42-42), which leads the NL with 4.78 runs per

contest, has scored three or fewer runs in seven of eight home

games. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, who went a combined 0 for 7 on

Friday, haven’t been able to muster much offense.

Votto is 5 for 31 (.161) during the team’s 2-6 stretch at Great

American Ball Park while Bruce is 6 for 29 (.207).

In contrast, Brandon Phillips, who spent the first four years of

his career in Cleveland, went 3 for 4 – including his 1,000th

career hit – and provided all of Friday’s offense with two

homers.

Phillips, who is 3 for 6 lifetime versus Carmona, is hitting

.455 in his last 10 games. Votto is 2 for 6 against the righty and

Bruce is 2 for 2.

In his first start since missing a month with a sprained right

shoulder, Homer Bailey (3-2, 3.86) gave up season worsts of five

runs and nine hits in five innings of Sunday’s 7-5 defeat at

Baltimore.

“Overall I thought I threw well, but unfortunately they hit,”

Bailey said.

Like his counterpart, Bailey has faltered during interleague

play, going 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA over his last five games – four of

which have come against Cleveland.

Indians closer Chris Perez was placed on the bereavement list

prior to Friday’s game to attend his grandmother’s funeral. He’s

expected to return to the team Sunday.