Fri, 08 Dec 2023

Reds in must-win mode for road series against Guardians

Field Level Media
26 Sep 2023, 03:19 GMT+10

(Photo credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports)

The Cincinnati Reds have little margin for error as they enter the opener of an abbreviated two-game series against the host Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday.

The Reds (80-77) reside 2 1/2 games out of the third and final wild-card slot in the National League with five games remaining on their schedule. All five of those games are on the road, too.

Cincinnati rebounded from squandering a nine-run lead in a 13-12 setback to Pittsburgh on Saturday by overcoming a two-run deficit in a 4-2 victory over the Pirates on Sunday.

"At this point, it's fighting for inches," the Reds' TJ Friedl said following his three-RBI performance on Sunday. "You're clawing for anything that you can get. Going into the hole 2-0 it's not foreign to us. We've seen that many times. There's no quit.

"After games like last night and you go down 2-0 in a Sunday day game, it's so easy to just kind of roll over and say that's it. That's just not this team. We've never done that once this year."

Friedl, who has homered in three consecutive contests, is 9-for-21 (.429) with seven RBIs and four runs during his six-game hitting streak. He went 3-for-7 with three runs during the Reds' two-game split against Cleveland on Aug. 15-16.

"Watching someone play like that, there's nothing like it," Cincinnati manager David Bell said. "TJ is a really good player in a lot of ways. In the moments when the season is on the line, it brings out the best in a player that's driven by winning.

"I don't even know what to say about what he's done. He's just completely locked into every single pitch -- offensively, defensively, on the bases. Just willing a way to help us win games."

Reds rookie Christian Encarnacion-Strand is doing his part with home runs in five of his last seven games.

Cincinnati right-hander Hunter Greene (4-6, 4.24 ERA) will look to build off his career-high 14-strikeout performance when he takes the mound for the series opener.

Greene, 24, settled for his second straight no-decision Wednesday despite allowing one run on three hits in seven innings against the Minnesota Twins. He has yet to face Cleveland in his young career.

The Guardians (74-83), who are eliminated from postseason contention, will send fellow right-hander Lucas Giolito (8-14, 4.60) to the mound Tuesday.

Giolito, 29, fell for the sixth time in seven starts on Wednesday after permitting four runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings during a 6-2 setback to the Kansas City Royals.

Included in Giolito's losing stretch was a 4-3 setback to the Reds on Aug. 22 while he was pitching for the Los Angeles Angels. Giolito yielded four runs (one earned) on five hits in six innings in that contest.

"Didn't really have much of anything. Just like a grinder," said Giolito, who is 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two career meetings versus Cincinnati.

Cleveland won the first two contests versus Baltimore before seeing its offense go limp in 2-1 and 5-1 setbacks to the Orioles over the weekend.

Andres Gimenez belted a solo homer to account for the Guardians' lone run Saturday. He went 0-for-3 Sunday to see his seven-game hitting streak come to a halt, however he still is batting .349 (29-for-83) during September.

Jose Ramirez recorded three of the Guardians' five hits on Sunday. He went 4-for-8 in the previous series versus the Reds.

--Field Level Media

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