Battle for Ohio Cup heads to Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Reds finally ended the visiting team's hex in their Ohio rivalry with the Cleveland Indians.
Now the action moves to Cincinnati, where the Reds are looking for a seventh straight home win over the Indians and figure to have an advantage with Mat Latos on the mound.
Latos has never lost in seven interleague home starts for the Reds, including two victories over the Indians heading into Wednesday night's matchup.
The home team had captured 12 straight in this series before Cincinnati won 9-2 on Tuesday to end Cleveland's four-game win streak and give both clubs 57-56 records.
The Indians won 7-1 on Monday to begin this stretch of four straight meetings - the final two in Cincinnati as part of a seven-game homestand for the Reds.
Latos (3-3, 3.07 ERA) is 4-0 with a 3.57 ERA at home in interleague play since joining the Reds in 2012. He has posted a 2.03 ERA with 14 strikeouts in winning twice against the Indians among those outings.
The right-hander won for the first time in four starts Friday by limiting Miami to one run in seven innings in a 5-2 road victory.
Latos has held left-handed hitters to a .186 batting average, although some Indians have had success against him. Lonnie Chisenhall is 3 for 5 with a homer, Michael Brantley is 3 for 8 and switch-hitter Carlos Santana is 3 for 7.
The Reds figure to be up against a formidable opponent in Danny Salazar (4-4, 4.45), who has posted a 2.00 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 18 innings while winning all three starts since being recalled from the minors July 22. He has been supported generously with 23 runs in those outings.
Salazar yielded one unearned run in six innings Friday in a 12-2 rout of Texas.
"I feel like I'm making progress every time I go out there," said Salazar, who has never faced the Reds.
The Indians have dropped all three of the right-hander's career interleague starts, giving him one run of support as Salazar has gone 0-1 with a 2.40 ERA.
Cincinnati improved to 4-9 in interleague play Tuesday behind a 15-hit attack in which every player had at least one. Jay Bruce went 3 for 5 with a homer and two RBIs, Ramon Santiago hit a three-run homer and Kristopher Negron drove in two runs.
Bruce is 7 for 15 in his last three games after a 4-for-44 slump.
Cleveland's Nick Swisher, the second-worst batter among qualifying AL players at .212, has missed the last two games with a strained right wrist. He took batting practice Tuesday and is nearing full health, but the lack of the designated hitter for these two games may delay his return.
"He's vastly improved to the point where he can start being available," manager Terry Francona told MLB's official website.
Leadoff hitter Jason Kipnis has a .140 batting average against the Reds for his second-worst mark against any foe. He's 1 for 7 when facing Latos.