If Danny Salazar isn't quite as amped up for the Ohio rivalry, it might be a good thing since too much of an adrenaline rush got the best of him last time out.
Another offensive outburst by the Cleveland Indians certainly wouldn't hurt either.
Salazar will try to get a better hold of his emotions Tuesday night when the Indians seek their 15th win in 16 home meetings with the last-place Cincinnati Reds.
Although he allowed one run and struck out a season-high 10 over five innings Wednesday, Salazar (3-2, 1.90 ERA) wasn't nearly as sharp as he had been in previous starts. He walked five in the first three innings and ended up with a career-high six.
The right-hander stranded eight runners in the first three innings, leaving the bases loaded in the first and second of a 5-3, 16-inning loss to Houston.
“I had a lot of adrenaline and was excited to go out there and try to get outs,” he told the league's official website after the 106-pitch performance. “I was pulling to my left side when I was throwing the ball, instead of going down.”
Salazar hasn't allowed more than three runs or four hits in his seven starts, but he's struggled with efficiency as he's been pulled before finishing six innings three times.
He hopes to settle in while pitching in a comfortable setting at Progressive Field. He's gone 5-2 with a 1.61 ERA over his last eight starts there dating to last season.
Salazar, however, didn't fare as well in his only start against Cincinnati (15-23). He gave up five runs and two homers over four innings of an 8-3 road loss Aug. 6.
Zack Cozart hit a three-run homer off Salazar in that contest, but Jay Bruce, Eugenio Suarez and Billy Hamilton were a combined 0 for 7. Hamilton came off the bereavement list before Monday's 15-6 loss following the death of his 3-year-old nephew.
After batting .227 with five homers while averaging 3 runs during a 2-12 road start, the Reds have totaled 15 runs and 26 hits – three homers – in the last two. Adam Duvall hit his seventh home run Monday while Bruce, Suarez and Jose Peraza had two hits apiece.
Duvall is hitting .390 with five homers, five doubles and 10 RBIs in his last 12 games.
''We scored enough runs to win,'' losing pitcher John Lamb said. ''Collectively as pitchers, that's what we're going to be thinking about when we go to sleep.''
Alfredo Simon (1-3, 8.67) will try to do better and help Cincinnati avoid its seventh loss in nine games before the series shifts to Great American Ball Park.
Since going 0-3 with a 20.52 ERA over a four-start stretch, the right-hander has given up six runs and 10 hits over 13 2/3 innings in back-to-back quality starts.
Simon is 5-1 with a 3.38 ERA in seven starts against the Indians (18-17). Jason Kipnis (4 for 17), Marlon Byrd (1 for 7) and Yan Gomes (1 for 11) haven't hit him well.
Cleveland finished with season highs in runs and hits Monday after batting .222 and averaging 3 runs while dropping five of its previous eight.
Byrd, a former Red, went 3 for 5 with a two-run homer, Francisco Lindor also finished with three hits and Gomes homered for the third consecutive contest.