It’s the closing game of a brief interleague set between a pair of struggling, last place teams in the Midwest. The Cincinnati Reds play the final game of a two game set against the Kansas City Royals Wednesday night on the road. Cincinnati salvaged the finale of a three game series at home as they beat the Cardinals 6-3 Sunday afternoon. Kansas City lost three of four on the road against Oakland as they were beaten 3-2 in the series finale Sunday afternoon. The pitching matchup for Tuesday’s series opener saw Sal Romano pitch for the Reds against the Royals’ Ian Kennedy. First pitch in that contest was set for 8:15 pm ET.
Cincinnati Reds Likely to Be Dealing Before Trade Deadline
Cincinnati snapped their 13-game losing streak to the Cardinals as they came up with the victory in the series finale Sunday afternoon. The Reds improved to 23-43 on the season: they are in the basement of the NL Central, 16.5 games behind the Cubs. No player had multiple hits for Cincinnati as the team had just five hits as they capitalized on 11 walks. Scooter Gennett had a two-run single in the fourth inning that gave the Reds a 4-2 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Joey Votto (run) drew four walks as he didn’t have an official at-bat. Anthony DeSclafani (1-1) earned the win as he threw five innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on 10 hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Jared Hughes threw two hitless innings, walking one and striking out three, to earn his fourth save.
Tyler Mahle takes the hill for his 14th start of the season for the Reds in this contest. He is 4-6 with a 4.33 ERA, a 1.427 WHIP, 26 walks and 67 strikeouts over 68.2 innings of work this season. Mahle recorded a no-decision in his last start, which came on the road against the Rockies Thursday afternoon. He threw five innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts as Cincinnati earned a 7-5 victory in 13 innings. Mahle is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA, a 1.67 WHIP, eight walks and 15 strikeouts over 15 innings in his last three starts. In his 18th major league start, he pitches against the Royals for the first time. As a result, this will be Mahle’s first career major league appearance at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City Royals Stuck in Disappointing Campaign
Kansas City dropped three of four to the A’s and has now sunk into the cellar of the AL Central. The Royals are 22-44 on the season and entered Tuesday’s action 14 games behind the Indians in the division race. Whit Merrifield (run) was the only player for Kansas City with multiple hits in the loss as he finished with two. Salvador Perez hammered a solo homer, his 11th of the season, in the defeat. Brad Keller recorded a no-decision in his first big league start: he allowed two runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts over 5.1 innings. Jason Adam (0-1) took the loss as he allowed one run on one hit with a strikeout in his one inning of relief.
Jason Hammel gets the ball to make his 14th start of the year for Kansas City in this one. He comes in 2-6 with a 5.12 ERA, a 1.435 WHIP, 21 walks and 52 strikeouts over 77.1 innings of work this season. Hammel took the loss in his last start, which came on the road against Oakland Thursday. He allowed four runs on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts over six innings in a 4-1 Royals loss. Hammel is 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP, five walks and 19 strikeouts over 17.1 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 13th career appearance and 12th start against the Reds in this contest. Hammel is 4-1 with one save, a 3.42 ERA, a 1.141 WHIP, 18 walks and 63 strikeouts over 68.1 innings. He is 4-11 with a 4.94 ERA, a 1.404 WHIP, 40 walks and 97 strikeouts over 140.1 innings in 26 career appearances, 24 starts, at Kauffman Stadium.
- Reds are 4-1 in Mahle’s last 5 road starts
- Reds are 4-1 in Mahle’s last 5 starts with 5 days of rest
- Royals are 1-4 in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400
- Royals are 1-7 in their last 8 games on grass
It’s only fitting that the two doormats of their respective Central Divisions lock up in a meaningless series early in a week of June. There aren’t going to be a ton of people rushing home to glue themselves to the set to tune in. Hammel has been awful since leaving Chicago following the Cubs’ World Series run in 2016. Mahle is performing fairly well for a young pitcher on a lousy team that plays half their games in a hitter-friendly park like the Great American Ball Park. Look for youth to prevail in this one, giving the Reds a split in this brief series.
Pick: Cincinnati Reds -109
The two worst pitching staffs in the league collide in this one, which could be a prelude to fireworks. If this was the Great American Ball Park, you could pretty much slot this one as an over, given that the Reds are 29th in the league with a 5.00 team ERA and the Royals are 30th with a 5.29 mark this season. The poor pitching has overshadowed the fact that the Reds have some decent offensive numbers: they are 12th in team batting average and third in on-base percentage this season. You can’t say the same for Kansas City: despite being 14th in team average, they are 26th in runs and 23rd in on-base percentage this season. On top of that, they traded away Jon Jay and his team-high .307 average to Arizona last week.
The under is 4-0 in the Reds’ last 4 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400, 7-2-1 in their last 10 Wednesday games and 6-2-2 in Mahle’s last 10 starts on the road. Kansas City has seen the under go 8-0 in their last 8 interleague games vs. a right-handed starter, 4-0 in their last 4 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30, 5-0 in their last 5 vs. National League Central opponents, 5-0 in their last five interleague games and 5-0 in their last 5 interleague home games vs. a right-handed starter. Both teams are weak on the mound but this one falls under the total as the Royals don’t have much going offensively this season.