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Cardinals should destroy the Reds

A series preview

St Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

The trade deadline has come and gone and the Cardinals made a small move to improve their bullpen, adding lefty Zach Duke. The Cincinnati Reds, who are hosting the Cardinals for three games, finally traded away Jay Bruce. While there were rumors regarding Zack Cozart, he stayed put, as did pitcher Dan Straily. The Cardinals should destroy the Reds.

By BaseRuns, the Reds are the worst team in baseball. By FanGraphs Depth Chart projections, their run differential the rest of the way is the worst in baseball. The team still has Joey Votto, one of the best players in all of baseball with a 142 wRC+ on the season. Zack Cozart has put up average offensive numbers this year, and with his very good defense, that makes him a pretty valuable player.

Adam Duvall has managed to put up an above average 114 wRC+ despite a sub-.300 on-base percentage. This is incredibly hard to do as the only qualified player in the last decade to post a wRC+ over 110 with an OBP below .300 is Pedro Alvarez in 2013, who had a 112 wRC+. He’s basically doing what Randal Grichuk did last year, except with a lower BABIP.

Brandon Phillips is not very good and is still owed $14 million next year. Tucker Barnhart has filled in for Devin Mesoraco, but does not provide anything on the offensive end. The speedy Billy Hamilton has been a bad hitter overall this season, but has shown a bit of an uptick of late. Given the value he provides on the bases and on defense, he can still be a bad hitter and be a decent player.

Eugenio Suarez will always have that first week of this season, but that doesn’t really do him a lot of good now. Tyler Holt and Scott Schebler are in line to get plate appearances that had been going to Jay Bruce, but that is not going to be good for the Reds as they project at or below replacement.

The pitching side is probably slightly more encouraging for the Reds, although Anthony DeSclafani is their best pitcher and he won’t appear this series. In tonight’s game, Dan Straily will make the start for the Reds. The 27-year-old righty has pitched reasonably well for the Reds, but his 3.84 ERA is propped up by an unsustainable .227 BABIP and his 4.54 FIP is probably more representative of his current abilities. The Cardinals will be sending Adam Wainwright to the mound.

On Wednesday, Cody Reed makes the start for Cincinnati. Reed has an ugly 7.07 ERA and 6.05 FIP, mainly due to giving up 10 home runs in 35.2 innings this year. He has decent strikeout numbers (22%) so there is some promise there for the 23-year-old. The lefty throws a low-90s fourseamer and a slider primarily, but also mixes in a change. Michael Wacha will pitch for the Cardinals.

Thursday night, Brandon Finnegan will pitch for the Reds. Finnegan doesn’t strike a lot of guys out (17%), walks a lot of guys (12%), and gives up too many homers (22 in 117.1 innings). He pitched decently his last time out, striking out five to go along with three walks in six scoreless innings against the Padres. Finnegan is another lefty, and he throws a low-90s sinker along with a slider and a change. Mike Leake will face his old team.

Tonight’s game is at 6:10 pm CT and airs on FS1.

Wednesday’s game is at 6:10 pm CT and airs on FOX Sports Midwest.

Thursday’s game is at 11:35 am CT and airs on FOX Sports Midwest.