Sonny Gray has allowed just one earned run in two starts so far in 2020. Photo by @redlegnation (Twitter).
- The Cincinnati Reds are -128 favorites over the Cleveland Indians on Monday (Aug. 3, 6:40 pm EST)
- Zach Plesac (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will start for Cleveland, while Cincy will give the ball to Sonny Gray (2-0, 0.71 ERA)
- Read below for a preview and betting prediction for the game
Round one of the battle of Ohio takes place Monday, as the Cleveland Indians travel to Cincinnati to face the Reds at 6:40 pm EST. Cleveland comes in having lost three straight, while Cincy is fresh off back-to-back victories.
Indians vs Reds Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Runline||Total at FanDuel|
|Cleveland Indians||+112||+1.5 (-190)||Over 8.0 (-112)|
|Cincinnati Reds||-128||-1.5 (+160)||Under 8.0 (-108)|
Odds taken Aug. 2nd.
Not surprisingly, Cincinnati opened as a small home favorite in the Indians vs Reds odds. The game features a low total of just 8, largely because of who’s on the mound for the home team.
2020 World Series Odds Tracker
It’s Always Sonny When Gray’s on the Mound
Cincy will give the ball to Sonny Gray, who’s been nothing short of spectacular so far. The 30-year-old is fresh off 6.2 innings of one-hit ball versus the Chicago Cubs, and sports a 2-0 record, with a 0.71 ERA and 0.55 WHIP this season.
6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K
Please join us in giving Sonny Gray a virtual standing ovation. #TakeTheCentral pic.twitter.com/GoM1t7qe04
— FOX Sports Cincinnati (@FOXSportsCincy) July 30, 2020
Gray has struck out 20 batters in the 12.2 innings he’s pitched and has only surrendered four hits. That kind of production may seem like an outlier, but he was incredibly dominant in 2019 as well. Gray was 11-8 last year on a bad Reds team, with a 2.87 ERA and a 5.6 WAR. He was limited experience versus most of the members of this Indians lineup, but those he has faced have not fared well against him.
Indians Career Stats vs Gray
Cleveland’s offense has been miserable lately, scoring just two runs total in its last three games. They’ve scored two or fewer runs in five straight and have been shutout twice already this week.
A big concern for Indians fans has to be the dry spell that the meat of their order is in. Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana have combined for just four hits in their last 34 at-bats.
Plesac Nearly Perfect Last Time Out
Fortunately for Cleveland, they’ve been able to keep games close despite not producing offensively thanks to their starting pitching. They’ve allowed an American League low 25 runs, and have been getting quality outings from all five starters. That includes number five starter Zach Plesac, who’ll face the Reds on Monday, after an immaculate performance in his season debut.
Zach Plesac, 11th K. pic.twitter.com/iN6MQCSQXY
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 30, 2020
The 25-year-old scattered three hits over 8 shutout innings against the Chicago White Sox, striking out 11. Cleveland didn’t reward him with a single run of support, which could easily happen again versus Cincinnati.
Reds Career Stats vs Plesac
Plesac struggled in his lone meeting against the Reds in 2019, allowing four runs in 5.1 innings en route to a 7-2 defeat. He won’t have to face Joey Votto his time around however, after the slugger was placed on the injured list with COVID symptoms.
Roll with the Reds
It’s impossible to back the Indians at this point given their offensive struggles. They’ve scored an AL low 26 runs, and have crossed the plate more than four times in just two games. A matchup against Cy Young candidate Sonny Gray is not the recipe to fix their offensive woes, and we can project another low scoring performance from them.
Javy Báez’s bat social distancing from Sonny Gray’s Breaking Ball. pic.twitter.com/h1EvA4GnFY
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 29, 2020
The Reds on the other hand have had no trouble scoring as they’re averaging over 5 runs a game. Even though Plesac pitched well in his first start, I’ll take the pitcher with the better pedigree and the team with the better offense in this one.
Pick: Cincinnati Reds moneyline (-128)
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.