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Cardinals should destroy the Reds

A Game Preview

MLB: Game 1-Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Technically, the series preview for this game was written back at the end of April when today’s game was scheduled. In another, less technical sense, pretending that the a preview from the end of April would provide a ton of insight to a game at the end of June is silly. The Cardinals should destroy the Reds.*

*With title, .500. Without title, .448. We are getting dangerously close to changing the title again

As there is just one game, let’s go straight to the lineups:

Today's Lineups

Jose Peraza - SS Tommy Pham - CF
Scooter Gennett - 2B Randal Grichuk - LF
Joey Votto - 1B Stephen Piscotty - RF
Adam Duvall - LF Jedd Gyorko - 3B
Eugenio Suarez - 3B Yadier Molina - C
Scott Schebler - RF Luke Voit - 1B
Devin Mesoraco - C Paul DeJong - 2B
Patrick Kivlehan - CF Aledmys Diaz - SS
Brandon Finnegan - LHP Michael Wacha - RHP

Joey Votto is still good, but you probably already knew that. Zack Cozart is having a very good season in his walk year, but he’s currently on the disabled list with a quad injury. Jose Peraza, who was playing second base, has moved over to shortstop in Cozart’s absence and Scooter Gennett—who has never done anything memorable on a baseball field, certainly not anything against the Cardinals—is playing second base.

Billy Hamilton is getting the day off today with Patrick Kivlehan taking his spot. He strikes out a bunch, but does have some power. Eugenio Suarez, Adam Duvall, Devin Mesoraco, and Scott Schebler are all in the normal spots and having good offensive seasons.

Brandon Finnegan has been on the disabled list for much of the season, but is coming back for the start today. The lefty has made just three starts this season totaling 10 innings and seven came in his first start on April 5th. He’s got a low-to-mid-90s fourseam fastball along with a sinker, silder, and change. The change could be a very important pitch today as the Cardinals have loaded the lineup with righties.

Finnegan has made three rehab starts, going three innings, then four innings, then five innings. He gave up a couple homers in his last start in Triple-A, but has struck out nine batters over his last nine innings against just a couple walks. He was taken in the middle of the first round by the Royals in 2014, made his debut that year, and pitched out of the pen during the Royals run to the World Series. He was traded to the Reds as part of the Johnny Cueto deal in 2015, and put up a mediocre season last year, but made 31 starts. He’s still just 24 years old, and the trapezius injury sidelined what looked to be a promising season.

As mentioned, the Cardinals are loading the lineup with righties today. Matt Carpenter is getting a day off and Luke Voit is taking his spot in the lineup. While the team used to have a decent lefty presence with Dexter Fowler as a switch hitter along with Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter, only Carpenter remains a regular on the active roster. Greg Garcia is the only other lefty on the 25-man roster. Luke Voit is from St. Louis.

Michael Wacha gets the start for the Cardinals, and he is clearly on thin ice when it comes to the rotation spot. Tyler Lyons has been used as a backup starter, first for Lance Lynn and then for Wacha last the two starts, and Lyons has been the more effective pitcher. His last three times out, Lyons has pitche 9.2 innings, struck out 14, walked three, put up a 2.49 FIP and 2.89 ERA. If anybody deserves a spot in the rotation, it is Lyons.

How long Wacha’s arm was going to hold up this season was always going to be a question, but he hasn’t pitched more than four innings in five of his last six starts after going at least six innings in his first seven starts. He was pitching more out of the zone earlier in the season and getting more swings and swinging strikes on those pitches compared to his last few outings. Wacha needs a good outing today to buy himself another a start.

Today, June 26, 3:15 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest