December 25, 2017
Reds Brace For Finale Against The Tribe

The Reds will try to salvage one game of the Ohio Cup series at Great American Ball Park. The Indians have taken out their frustrations on Cincinnati and their beleaguered bullpen. When the two teams battle Thursday night, Reds pitchers will be under the gun to do better. After giving up a two-run lead late in Wednesday night's game, Cincinnati's relief staff would like to see the starter go more than seven innings.

The Ohio Cup finale will feature Cleveland right-hander Josh Tomlin. Tomlin (5-0, 3.82 ERA) is coming off three straight starts of at least six innings pitched. During his last outing against the Twins, Tomlin had a problem with the long ball. He allowed four runs on three home runs.

When the series started, the Indians were mired in a scoring slump. Since Cleveland batters have been able to face the Reds' relief corps, their production has skyrocketed. The Tribe outscored the Reds 28-7 in Cleveland. After being down 7-5, the Indians battled back to defeat the battered Reds and their bullpen. Francisco Lindor led off the 12th with a winning homer. The 8-7 win moved the Indians to 20-17. The Reds have lost five straight to the Indians.

To help support the Reds' battle-worn bullpen, Jumbo Diaz and Keyvius Sampson were called up from the farm system. Sadly, the same results occurred. Both pitchers were called upon and surrendered runs. On Wednesday night, Ross Ohlendorf, Tony Cingrani, J.C. Ramirez, and Caleb Cotham made appearances for the Reds. Cingrani blew his third save opportunity.

"The two of them have been our most reliable relief pitchers in Louisville," Reds manager Bryan Price explained Wednesday, via the Springfield News-Sun, "and comes highly recommended by the coaching staff. They went and did what we asked them to do, which is go down there and perform. They come back with a chance to get re-acclimated and help us out."

Their first performance didn't give that indication.

Tim Adleman will try to give the Reds a quality start and needed rest for the pen. Per MLB.com, Adeleman is carrying a 3.38 ERA in his first three career starts with 13 strikeouts over 16 innings, but he has managed to record an out in the sixth inning just once – in his first career start. In order for the Reds to get back on track, the starters and relievers need to get on the same wavelength.

Good things to know

Tomlin is 1-2 with a 5.32 ERA in four career starts against the Reds, including a 2014 start in which he allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits with a walk and a hit batter. The Redlegs are batting .300 against him.

Zack Cozart (5-for-8, double, triple) and Brandon Phillips (3-for-8, home run) have seen Tomlin well, while Joey Votto has homered and doubled in eight at-bats in the matchup.

Reds left fielder Adam Duvall is likely to return to the starting lineup after not starting Wednesday. Duvall is third on the team in batting average (.272) among players with at least 50 at-bats, and his seven home runs are third on the team behind Eugenio Suarez's nine and Bruce's eight.

The Reds starting lineup:

The Ugly

The Indians continue to hammer the Reds pitchers. Over the first three games of the series, Cleveland has 46 hits. The Indians also scored 13 or more runs in consecutive games for the first time since 1999. The Tribe will be going for a home-and-home sweep of the Reds.

To avoid the sweep, Cincinnati will need Adleman to give his best. Timely hitting against Tomlin could get the Reds a W in the left column. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. EST.

[Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images]