Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4989 Cleveland Indians vs.
#4990 Cincinnati Reds
Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 1:10pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Cleveland Indians will head on the road to Great American Ballpark on Sunday for the final game of their weekend series versus the Cincinnati Reds.

The Indians are trying to battle their way back into first place in the American League Central. At 7-6, the Tribe enters play on Saturday one game back of the Kansas City Royals for the division lead. Meanwhile, Cincinnati has raced out to an 8-5 overall record to lead the National League Central.

Can the Red stay hot at home against Cleveland in their series finale at Great American Ballpark on Sunday afternoon?

Bieber hoping to build off best start of 2021

Generating consistent offense has been a struggle for the Tribe this season. They enter the weekend with a team batting average of just .206, good for 27th in the MLB. Cleveland is 26th in runs scored (49) and 23rd in OPS .666 despite being tied for sixth in the Major Leagues with 18 home runs.

Cleveland is scheduled to hand the ball to reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber on Sunday. After a challenging debut, Bieber looked more like himself in his previous start, tossing nine scoreless frames with 11 strikeouts and only one walk against the division-rival Chicago White Sox. The 25-year-old comes in with a 1-1 overall record to go along with a 2.11 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 21 ⅓ combined innings of work.

Bieber has made three career starts versus the Reds, going 2-0 with a 2.11 ERA and 0.66 WHIP in 21 combined innings of work. His last start against Cincinnati came in 2019 when he tossed eight innings of two-run ball with eight strikeouts to earn the win. According to Baseball Savant, current Reds are batting a slim .24 in 52 plate appearances off of Bieber heading into Sunday’s contest.

Miley enters riding 11-inning scoreless streak

Cincinnati is expected to turn to veteran lefty Wade Miley for his third start of the season. After going winless in his first season with the Reds, the 34-year-old is off to a strong start to the 2021 campaign, posting 11 consecutive scoreless frames to open the year. Miley enters with a 2-0 record to go along with a 0.00 ERA and nine strikeouts.

Miley has been working quickly on the mound, keeping hitters off-balance while relying heavily on his changeup and locating his fastball with relative ease. As a result, Miley has cut his walk-rate down to a career-low 1.64 batters per nine innings of work. However, some regression could be on the way for the Reds’ lefty, who has benefitted from a .143 BABIP so far this season.

In seven career starts versus the Tribe, Miley is 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA and 1.85 WHIP. He last saw Cleveland in 2019, tossing 5 ⅔ innings of one-run ball in a no-decision. According to Baseball Savant, current Indians’ hitters are batting .250 in 35 plate appearances off of the Reds’ veteran heading into Sunday’s series finale.

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Bieber has posted quality outings in all three of his starts, but his command was shaky, as he walked seven batters in his first two starts. That changed last time out against the White Sox though and he looked much more like the pitcher who cruised to the AL Cy Young Award last season. He’s also due for some run support, as Cleveland has scored just three runs per game in his first three starts of the year. Meanwhile, Miley has less-than-stellar career numbers against the Tribe and appears to be due for some regression after pushing his scoreless streak to 11 innings in his previous outing. Take Cleveland to come out on top on the road in this interleague series showdown on Sunday.

Prediction: Cleveland Indians -155

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The Reds offense exploded for 10 runs in the first game of the series but runs are going to be much harder to come by on Sunday. Bieber is off to a strong start to the 2021 season and his stuff doesn’t appear to be falling off anytime soon. The Indians’ right-hander has struck out a whopping 41.7 percent of the batters that he’s faced so far this season. Meanwhile, Cleveland is batting just .206 as a team so far this season and the Indians have scored four runs or fewer in each of their last five games. Take this matchup to stay under the projected total on Sunday.

Prediction: Under

Written By Nick Raffoul , "Nick Raffoul"

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.