The last time the Cardinals played the Reds, St. Louis took two of three, winning the starts of Michael Wacha, who didn’t pitch well, and Jaime Garcia, who pitched very well. They lost the start of Mike Leake. As the Cardinals head to Cincinnati, two of those three players are on the disabled list, and we have no idea what to expect from Jaime Garcia. The Cardinals should destroy the Reds.
We have come to the point in the season where these season preview are becoming a bit old hat for both the reader and the audience. The post contains a bit of knowledge about the team the Cardinals are facing, focusing a little more on the starting pitchers. No reason to change that now.
You know who Joey Votto is, one of the best players in all of baseball and playing out of his mind in the second half. Brandon Phillips, you know him, too. Even Zach Cozart feels like he’s been around for awhile providing consistently good defense and inconsistent offense that’s been close to average over the last couple years.
Billy Hamilton is a defensive marvel, incredibly fun to watch on offense and somebody you can’t give free passes to unless you want to see him get in scoring position. Adam Duvall has a ton of power and is busy doing his own Randal Grichuk impression, except from a corner outfield spot and consistent playing time. Jose Peraza might be something with a high contact rate and a ton of speed, but he’ll need to learn to walk a bit.
The rest of the team is not all that interesting. The Reds are rebuilding and your Tucker Barnharts, your Eugenio Suarezes, even your Scott Scheblers aren’t likely to turn into valuable pieces that will be around when Cincinnati is ready to contend. The team is still a ways off and faces stiff competition in the NL Central from teams that have prepared for the future a bit better than the Reds have done.
On the other hand, the Reds do have some interesting pitchers. Anthony DeSclafani is starting tonight’s game and he’s pretty good. The righty has made 15 starts this season, averaging more than six innings per start combining above-average strikeouts (22%) with above-average walks (5.3%) leading to a very good ERA (2.96) and a solidly above average FIP (3.50). His home park doesn’t do him any favors, but he has done well the past two seasons and represents a pretty good haul for Mat Latos a few seasons ago.
DeSclafani probably isn’t the pitcher you will pay the most attention to tonight, however. That’s because Alex Reyes is making his second career start. After spending hi first nine innings in the bullpen, Reyes last 4.2 and 89 pitches in his first start, only allowing a run when the bullpen let one in after he was out. It was a very positive start for Reyes. He was still pitching multiple innings, but perhaps not quite completely ramped up for starting after his time in the pen. That shouldn’t be an issue tonight, and he will likely go as long as he is effective. If he can limit the walks, it should be a nice night.
On Saturday, Dan Straily will pitch for the Reds. Straily has a decent 3.92 ERA, but he also has a too-low .239 BABIP and a pretty high home run rate. He isn’t great at strikeouts or walks, leading to a 4.72 FIP, which is in line with his career FIP and closer to his 4.34 career ERA. He’s a fly ball pitcher in a fly ball park against a home run hitting team, but you can’t predict baseball. Speaking of, Jaime Garcia will take the mound for the Cardinals.
On Sunday, Tim Adleman will take on the Cardinals. He is 28 years old and is in his debut season for the Reds, making seven starts. He’s not big on strikeouts, and it isn’t like he’s great at preventing walks, but despite 8 home runs in 35.1 innings his ERA is just 3.82. Billy Hamilton just must get to about every ball that doesn’t go over the fence. The Cardinals have been reliant on the long ball this year, and they should probably do the same this series if they want to win. Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez will pitch the finale.
Tonight’s game is at 6:10 pm CT and will air on FOX Sports Midwest
Saturday’s game is at 3:10 pm CT and will air on FOX Sports Midwest
Sunday’s game is at 12:10 pm CT and will air on FOX Sports Midwest