(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cincinnati Reds try to put the brakes on a five-game losing streak on Friday when they kick off the Battle of Ohio with the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
Cincinnati's foray into the American League didn't go well this past week, as it was swept in a two-game set by the Kansas City Royals and was outscored 10-1 in the process.
The Reds have now dropped eight of their last 11.
"We cannot stop moving forward," said Reds first baseman Joey Votto. "Any time you let the numbers on the scoreboard or in the newspaper dictate how you react, you're going to be in big trouble."
Hoping to change their fortunes on Friday will be righty Mike Leake, who is 2-2 with a 3.62 ERA. Leake looked awful in a loss to the San Francisco on Saturday, as he was pounded for nine runs and 11 hits in five innings.
He had given up one earned run over 22 innings in his last three starts, including back-to-back efforts of eight scoreless innings.
"They put some good swings on some balls, hit some good pitches," said Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart, who has caught most of Leake's starts since his call up. "In like every game, we made a couple of mistakes. Sometimes they capitalize on them like they did tonight, and sometimes they don't."
Leake has faced the Tribe four times and is 1-0 against them with a 3.28 ERA.
Cleveland comes into this contest playing its best baseball of the season. The Tribe took the final three games of their series with the Chicago White Sox, winning Thursday's finale, 5-2.
Nick Swisher and Mike Aviles hit back-to- back homers in the first inning, and Danny Salazar posted a quality start for the Indians, who still sit in the cellar of the AL Central at 17-23.
"You've got to start somewhere, and we have a long way to go but we're playing better baseball," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Hopefully, that will continue for the rest of the season."
Getting the call for the Indians on Friday will be righty Carlos Carrasco, who has lost his last two starts. Carrasco fell to Texas on Sunday and surrendered five runs and seven hits in eight innings to drop to 4-4 to go along with a 4.98 ERA.
He threw a career-high 114 pitches, 77 for strikes.
"He pitched a complete game, which we really needed," Francona said. "He made a couple mistakes basically to (Mitch) Moreland that really cost us the runs. ... The two-run homer to Moreland hurt."
Carrasco is 1-0 with a 6.30 ERA in two games (1 start) against the Reds.
Cincinnati won three of four matchups versus the Indians last season.