While the stumbling Cincinnati Reds hope their rotation doesn't miss its ace for long, the Cleveland Indians are enjoying a resurgence behind a string of strong performances from their starters.
The visiting Reds will try to avoid their longest losing streak in six years without All-Star Johnny Cueto on Sunday, when Trevor Bauer looks to throw the latest gem for the red-hot Indians.
Cincinnati starters had posted an 11.57 ERA over six straight losses before offensive woes led to Saturday's 2-1 loss at Progressive Field. The Reds had nine hits off Corey Kluber but went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
"We just didn't capitalize on those opportunities," said manager Bryan Price, who displayed some of the team's frustration when he was ejected before Saturday's first pitch.
They've gone 1 for 24 in those situations over the last four games and have been outscored 49-17 during a seven-game losing streak. Cincinnati (18-24) twice had seven-game skids last season but hasn't had a longer one since dropping eight in a row July 28-Aug. 4, 2009.
Making matters worse, Cueto has been scratched from Sunday's start because of elbow stiffness. Price says he doesn't believe the injury is serious, though he'd like to give the right-hander extra time between starts.
Cueto, who won a career-high 20 games while leading the NL in strikeouts in 2014, entered Saturday leading the majors with 65 1-3 innings pitched and tops Cincinnati's starters with a 3.03 ERA.
"He's been our workhorse - so if he needs a little rest, he certainly has earned it," Price said.
Cuban rookie Raisel Iglesias (1-0, 3.94 ERA) will fill in after allowing three runs and seven hits over three innings in his last two relief appearances. He had a 2.77 ERA in two starts before Cincinnati opted to go with a four-man rotation.
The right-hander must contend with the red-hot Jason Kipnis, who had the go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning Saturday. The second baseman leads the majors in May with a .465 average, a .545 on-base percentage and 23 runs.
Kipnis is also batting .591 during a 11-game home hitting streak and has gone 9 for 16 in his last four against the Reds.
Cleveland starters have a 1.47 ERA over the past six games after Kluber allowed one run over eight innings to extend the club's winning streak to five - the longest by the Indians (19-23) since a six-game run May 30-June 4, 2014.
Bauer (3-1, 3.31) hopes to continue that trend after allowing one run and four hits over 7 1-3 innings in each of his last two starts. After striking out 10 in his previous outing, he fanned seven in Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox for his first victory since April 15.
"I feel a bit better mechanically and I'm probably back to where I need to be," Bauer said. "I also feel better attacking guys."
In his only start against the Reds, the right-hander gave up four runs and issued five walks over three innings of a 4-0 loss in 2012 while with Arizona.
Cincinnati's Joey Votto had been 3 for 20 over his previous five contests before going 2 for 4 with a double Saturday. Jay Bruce is 11 for 22 over a six-game hitting streak, while Brandon Phillips is 6 for 13 over his last three.
Devin Mesoraco won't be available after he experienced pain in his left hip Friday during catching drills.
Cleveland's Yan Gomes, a 2014 Silver Slugger catcher, is expected to be activated after missing 37 games due to a sprained right knee.