Mike Clevinger and Dallas Keuchel made it through the first two innings pretty smoothly, but each ran into trouble in the third. Keuchel more than Clevinger as he allowed a run to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.
Houston loaded the bases with one out in their half of the third, with Tony Kemp walking, Jose Altuve singling him to third and Alex Bregman getting hit right on the rump to load things up. Clevinger worked out of it though, with Yuli Gurriel striking out and Mawin Gonzalez flying out. He scared everyone first by hitting a screaming liner down the first base line that had the distance but not the aim and went foul, but Clevinger wiggled out of it.
In the bottom half Yan Gomes and Jason Kipnis each singled and then both were moved up a base when Francisco Lindor sacrified to Keuchel on the mound. The next batter up, Michael Brantley, hit a long fly ball to left center which was plenty deep to score Gomes. Jose Ramriez flied out to end the inning.
We’re now in the fourth and Clevinger is working, just passing 70 pitches. Keuchel has been far more economical — he threw 43 pitches in his first three innings, but he and the Astros are trailing.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.