The Cleveland Indians (32-29) and Cincinnati Reds (34-27) will close out a three-game interleague series on Thursday afternoon at the Great American Ball Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 12:35 ET

Cleveland Indians at Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds 2B Brandon Phillips enjoys playing against the Cleveland Indians

Cleveland is now 4-4 on its current nine-game road trip, dropping a 5-3 contest in the second game of this series on Wednesday night, and will now look to avoid getting swept.  “We just couldn’t execute offensively,” stated Indians manager Manny Acta.  “That pretty much killed us.”  Indians outfielder Michael Brantley is still swinging the bat well despite the team’s woes at the plate, coming in with a 20-game hit streak, batting .346 with 15 RBIs over that span.  Cleveland is 6-8 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 this season.

Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (3-3, 4.96 ERA) has led the club to four wins in his last five outings, including a 6-2 road win over the St. Louis Cardinals last time out, giving up two runs and eight hits over seven innings.  The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA in four road appearances (three starts), surrendering just a single home run in 24.2 combined frames.  Tomlin earned a 2-1 home win over the Reds in his only career start against them on May 21, 2011, allowing one run and three hits over seven innings.

Cincinnati hasn’t been slowed down by a stomach virus that has run through the clubhouse in recent days, especially second baseman Brandon Phillips, who has tallied five multi-hit games in his last seven contests.  He has done some of his best work during his career against his former team, batting .347 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs in those meetings.  Cincinnati is 9-5 as a home favorite of -125 to -150 this season, with the “over” going 8-6 in those contests.

Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake (2-5, 4.97 ERA) didn’t factor into the decision of a 5-4 home loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in his last start, allowing four runs and seven hits over seven frames.  The right-hander is 1-3 with a 5.74 ERA in six home starts, serving up five home runs in 31.1 frames, while opposing hitters are batting .317 against him.  Leake earned a 7-5 home win over the Indians on July 3 of last year, allowing four runs and four hits over six frames.

Bettors will likely back the Indians due to their 11-4 record versus NL Central teams, while the Reds are 1-4 in Leake’s last five home starts versus winning teams.

Pick:  Cleveland Indians +121

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