While the Cleveland Indians have been hindered by injuries,
Jason Kipnis has stepped up.
Kipnis and the Indians look to continue their run Tuesday night
when they open a three-game road series against the Cincinnati
Cleveland won two of three against Detroit and St. Louis last
week as part of a nine-game road trip. Kipnis hit a tiebreaking
three-run homer in the ninth Sunday for a 4-1 victory over the
With the win, the Indians (32-27) improved to 16-11 on the road
and moved within one-half game of Chicago for the AL Central
Kipnis has helped keep Cleveland in the mix of the division race
while Carlos Santana, Travis Hafner, Jack Hannahan and Grady
Sizemore have all spent time on the disabled list. After hitting
seven homers in 36 games last season, he is leading the team with
10 homers and 39 RBIs while hitting .285 in 2012.
Kipnis has been on a tear recently, hitting .357 with four
homers and 15 RBIs over the last 17 games, playing all three games
this weekend despite taking a ball off his knee Friday.
Cincinnati (32-27) dropped the final two in a three-game series
with Detroit over the weekend, losing 7-6 Sunday after Detroit
scored five runs over the seventh and eighth innings. The Reds have
lost five of seven heading into this series.
Aroldis Chapman picked up the loss for a second straight
appearance after being charged with two runs allowed in the eighth.
He opened the season with franchise-record streak of 24 appearances
without allowing an earned run.
“Sometimes, it happens,” manager Dusty Baker said. ”I don’t
care how good you are. He spoiled us by being so good, and he will
be great again.”
The loss dropped Cincinnati into a tie with Pittsburgh for the
NL Central lead.
“Tied or not, we’re still the leaders,” said third baseman Todd
Frazier, who homered and had a career-high four RBIs.
The Reds may not have much luck ending their recent struggles if
they can’t solve the Indians, who won five of six last season.
Cincinnati will try to take advantage of a matchup against
Jeanmar Gomez (4-4, 4.97 ERA), who has struggled in three straight
starts, giving up at least five runs in each of them.
Despite surrendering two homers among seven hits and getting
reached for six runs over five innings Wednesday, Gomez did get the
win as the Indians beat Detroit 9-6.
The right-hander is making his first start against the Reds. He
made his first interleague appearance against Miami on May 19,
allowing three hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 2-0 victory.
Cincinnati will counter with Johnny Cueto (6-3, 2.63), who gave
up three runs in 7 2-3 innings of a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh last
Wednesday, avoiding a third straight loss.
“When he’s on the mound, you feel like you’ve got a good shot to
win,” Ryan Ludwick said. “I’ve been on other clubs with pitchers
like that. I don’t want to put any extra pressure on him, but
that’s what he’s supposed to do.
Cueto is 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts against the Indians,
last facing them in 2010.