Going into the year, this season figured to be a long one for the Reds. The team did not appear to have a ton of impact-level talent for this season, and outside of Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Zack Cozart, and Devin Mesoraco, had little in the way of proven major leaguers. The season has more or less played out as expected as the Reds are early-season contenders, along with the Braves and Twins for the top draft pick next year. The Cardinals should destroy the Reds.
Devin Mesoraco is likely out for the season while Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips have been off to pretty bad starts. Votto is capable of turning things around at any point and remains dangerous. As for the rest of the team, there are few tough outs.
Jay Bruce remains a solid hitter, although he has to be moved at some point as the Reds continue rebuilding. Zack Cozart has been a pretty bright spot, hitting at a league average clip despite the inability to take a walk. After that, Eugenio Suarez has been bad, Tucker Barnhart was not expected to shoulder the load at catcher and has played about as well as expected. Billy Hamilton still can't seem to find a way on base to use his speed. Put it together and that does not make for much of an offense.
The one bright spot of late for the Reds has been Adam Duvall. Acquired last season in a trade from the Giants in the Mike Leake deal, Duvall has always had a lot of power, but a low walk rate prevented him from really breaking through. The Reds appear to be giving him a shot at everyday playing time after being on the short end of the platoon at the beginning of the year. The move has paid off as Duvall has already reached double-digit homers. However, he still doesn't walk and his strikeout rate is around 30% so his game is hardly well-rounded.
While the offense has had it's share of difficulties, it has been the pitching that has been as bad or worse for the Reds. The starters are pitching at replacement level and the relievers are historically bad. Raisel Iglesias and Athony Desclafani have some potential, but both find themselves on the disabled list at the moment.
No matter who pitches for the Reds, be it John Lamb, Alfredo Simon, or Brandon Finnegan, it is not likely to be a starter who approaches average. The Cardinals one loss to the Reds in their series earlier this year occurred when Adam Wainwright gave up 7 runs in 5.1 innings. The Cardinals should have the advantage in the pitching matchup in every game this series, and this is a series the Cardinals need to take advantage of to get itself in the position to contend later this season.
The Cardinals are playing the eastern time zone so if you dislike early evening starts, this figures to be a rough series.
Tonight's game is at 6:10 pm CT and is on FOX Sports Midwest
Wednesday's game is at 6:10 pm CT and is on FOX Sports Midwest
Thursday's game is at 6:10 pm CT and is on FOX Sports Midwest