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Cleveland has its ace back on the mound and looks to keep the momentum going after taking the final two games of the series against Kansas City to earn a split. The Reds did their job in the season-opening series, splitting a four-game set on the road against the defending World Series champions. Tyler Mahle out-dueled Max Fried in the opener, but there was some hard contact against him. We’re expecting the offenses to cool off just a tad.
Garcia’s 2022 record: (2-0)
Nobody gave the Reds much of a chance on Opening Day, going against the defending champion Atlanta Braves and ace Max Fried. Mahle seemed to take that personally, giving up just one earned run across five innings on three and two walks while striking out seven in a 6-3 victory.
For two years in a row, Mahle has been good-no-great, posting a 3.59 ERA in the shortened 2020 season before going 13-6 last year with a 3.75 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP, and 158 strikeouts in 180 innings. Still, there’s reason to be concerned the advanced metrics may catch up with him if he throws the same way as last game. Currently, Mahle is in the 11th percentile in terms of average exit velocity and 17th percentile in hard-hit rate.
He does have good swing-and-miss stuff, however, ranking in the 79th percentile.
As for the Guardians, Shane Bieber didn’t get the win, but he was solid in his debut as well. Bieber gave up one run in 4.2 innings, allowing just three hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
Bieber struggled last season, ranking in the bottom third of the league in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and barrel rate. His first outing was good, but a hitter-friendly stadium like Great American Ballpark will tell a better story about where he’s at to start this season.
Cincinnati on the whole has been good offensively through four games. The Reds scored six or more runs in three of their first four games and did so by manufacturing offense. Cincinnati hit just two home runs in the entire series but has four batters who’ve recorded at least three hits.
Kyle Farmer had two hits and two RBIs in the series finale and is hitting .357 in the early going.
For Cleveland, it took a while to get the offense to come to life, but the man did it come to life. After scoring just one total run in the first two games of the season, Cleveland exploded for 17 runs in game three and added 10 more in Monday’s win over the Royals.
Steven Kwan was a ridiculous 8-for-10 with three walks in the first three games of his career and continued his incredible streak on Monday. Kwan went 1-for-3 with a three-run triple to give the Guardians a comfortable lead in the 8th inning.
He also recorded two more walks and has now reached base 16 (!) times in his first four games.
Then, of course, there’s the recently extended Jose Ramirez – he signed a 5-year, $124-million contract to stay in Cleveland last week, and he’s showing why he’s worth every penny.
Ramirez went 1-for-4 with an RBI single and a walk on Monday. His OPS sits above 1.200 as he continues to power the Guardians.
For Cleveland, the x-factor we’re watching is Franmil Reyes. Mahle got barrelled up in the season-opener and if Reyes finds a barrel, odds are it’s going to be hit a long way. Reyes had two singles on Monday but is still searching for his first long ball of the season, something that will come sooner than later.
For Cincinnati, we’re watching Jonathan India. The reigning Rookie of the Year is just 4-of-18 to start the season, with one walk and four strikeouts. His OBP early on (.263) is well behind his pace from last season (.367) but of course, it’s too early to draw any conclusions.
It’s not an easy matchup for the leadoff hitter against Bieber, but the Reds will want to see him pick it up soon.
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|Cleveland Guardians vs Cincinnati Reds Information
|Cleveland Guardians vs Cincinnati Reds
|Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati, OH
|Tuesday, April 12, 4:10 p.m. EST
|How to watch
|Bally Sports Ohio
Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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