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Cardinals should destroy the Reds

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A Series Preview

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals Carlos Martinez
Viva El Gallo
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Since the disaster that was the St. Louis Cardinals opening series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team has won five of six games against some of the dregs of the National League in the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. That trend should continue as the Cardinals now take on the Cincinnati Reds in St. Louis.

When the Cardinals started their series against the Brewers, both teams had the same record at 3-3. Similarly, the Cardinals and Reds both have the same record, this time at 5-4. The Reds beat up on the Phillies to open the season, then took two of three from the Pirates before getting swept by the Cubs in Chicago. Don't let the Reds 5-4 record fool you. They are not very good this year.

The Reds do have some familiar faces and quality pieces on their team, none moreso quality than Joey Votto. The current face of the Reds franchise is still one of the very best players in baseball. Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce are still around, although their abilities have been diminished over the years and they are roughly average to below average players at this point.

Billy Hamilton and Devin Mesoraco represent a few of the younger players contributing that have been with the Reds for a bit. Although Keon Broxton learned how to steal first base against Jaime Garcia yesterday, Billy Hamilton has not yet learned that skill. He is still crazy fast, though. Zack Cozart has been out for a few games with a quad injury, but is expected to be back this weekend.

Eugenio Suarez is doing some Hazelbaking of his own with four homers and a .353/.421/.706 line. In the final outfield spot, Adam Duvall, acquired in the Mike Leake trade, and Scott Schebler, acquired in the Todd Frazier trade could both see time out there.

On the pitching side, the Reds begin with Tim Melville. In his first major league start against the Pirates, Melville made it through four innings, striking out five but also walking four and giving up one run. Melville is not the Typee of pitcher who should give the Cardinals trouble. He mainly goes with his fastball, which in his last start averaged 91 mph, but also has a slider and curve.

In the second game, the Reds are sending out Brandon Finnegan, who looked great in his last start before the Reds blew the game against the Cubs. Jeff Sullivan recently wrote a piece on Finnegan, and while the Reds are not good, Finnegan has some potential.

The signs are good for Brandon Finnegan as a starting pitcher. He’s working now with two fastballs, a slider, and a changeup, and he’s throwing everything with faith. I know I already put this comp on Carlos Rodon, but looking at Finnegan’s present repertoire, it’s again reminiscent of Francisco Liriano. The pitches are there, the speeds are there, and the movements are similar enough. Finnegan isn’t as good as Liriano yet, but it’s within his reach. The Reds should be delighted that he’s gotten even this far.

As of this writing, MLB lists Sunday's starter as TBD while ESPN lists Jon Moscot, who just had a rehab start in Louisville, striking out six while walking none in 5.2 innings. He also gave up five runs on six hits, including a home run. He is right-handed, does not strike out a lot of guys and the projections do not seem to like him very much.

The Cardinals are countering with Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, and Michael Wacha. Carlos Martinez is very good, and Adam Wainwright insists he's fine despite struggling so far.

Michael Wacha's last start was encouraging so if he can keep that going, he might help the Cardinals complete the sweep. The Cardinals offense has been on fire of late and their +24 run-differential is second best in all of baseball. This series is a mismatch and while anything can happen, the Cardinals should destroy the Reds.