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Series Preview 4/26-28: Reds vs. Cardinals

The Cardinals have won five in a row. Can they keep it rolling with the Reds in town?

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

With almost a month of the 2019 season in the books, the Cardinals enter the final weekend of April with a streak of five wins and a record of 15-9, fueled by a 14-8 mark against teams over .500. That gives St. Louis a .625 winning percentage, and that leads the National League. On Friday night, the Cardinals will look to continue trending in that same direction as they welcome the Reds to Busch Stadium for a three-game series.

On Friday evening, the Cardinals will send Miles Mikolas to the mound to face Anthony DeSclafani and the Reds at 7:15 PM Central time. Mikolas twirled what is his best start of the year so far last Saturday, when he held the Mets to two runs across eight innings. He is the first Cardinal to log eight innings in an outing this year. Left-handed batters have hit .294 with three home runs off Mikolas in 2019, and this is great for a Reds lineup anchored by Joey Votto, Jesse Winker, and Derek Dietrich. Over on the Reds’ leaderboards, Votto leads Cincinnati’s offense with a .349 on-base percentage, Winker has six long balls, and Dietrich has driven in 13 runs.

DeSclafani will make his fifth start of the season and the sixth start of his career at Busch Stadium. In St. Louis, DeSclafani has a 4.32 ERA with 10 walks in 25 innings. DeSclafani worked a quality start his last time out, with six frames of one-run ball over the Padres in San Diego back on 4/19. Matt Carpenter has been very successful against the 29-year-old in the past; he is 9-for-22 with three homers and a 1.536 OPS facing DeSclafani. Ozuna, Goldschmidt, Yadier Molina, and Dexter Fowler have also went deep off this right-hander.

The Saturday contest will feature Dakota Hudson and Tyler Mahle at 1:15 PM. Hudson struck out five and allowed three runs in his last start on 4/21 against the Mets, and his assignment on Saturday will be his second career appearance against Cincinnati. Back in September last year, Hudson fired two scoreless innings against these Reds. Hudson has allowed eight home runs in 2019 and five over his last two starts.

Mahle was drafted by the Reds back in 2013 and is in his second full season as a starter. This will be Mahle’s fifth start of the season, and he has reached the six-inning mark in three of his first four starts. Jose Martinez is 4-for-6 facing Mahle, and Molina and Fowler have homered off the 24-year-old.

The finale of this three-game series between the Cardinals and Reds will end with Jack Flaherty and Sonny Gray at 1:15 PM. Flaherty whiffed 10 Brewers batters in his last start, where he logged six innings and allowed three home runs. Home runs are definitely up for Flaherty this season, with a 2.63 HR/9 through five starts in 2019 compared to a 1.19 last season. Nonetheless, his strikeout rate is higher, with 12.00 K/9 rate through 24 innings after a 10.85 in 2018.

Gray, a 2011 first-round pick, came up with Oakland and was named an All-Star back in 2015. It’s hard to believe he is 29 years old. Gray spent over four seasons in green and gold before a trade to the Yankees in 2017. He was there all of last season before a trade back in January sent him to Cincinnati. In five starts for the Reds, Gray has a 3.65 ERA with 31 strikeouts and a 0.97 WHIP.

So, to recap:

Friday, 4/26, 7:15 | Mikolas v DeSclafani | FSMW, KMOX, CRN, WJIR

Saturday, 4/27, 1:15 | Hudson v Mahle | MLB Network, FSMW, KMOX, CRN, WJIR

Sunday, 4/28, 1:15 | Flaherty v Gray | FSMW, KMOX, CRN, WJIR

Notes from around the league:

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will make his MLB debut tonight for the Blue Jays in their game against the Athletics. In four different levels of the Minors last season, Guerrero hit 20 home runs with a 1.073 OPS in 95 games.
  • Two-sport-star Kyler Murray was drafted by Oakland in the first round of last summer’s MLB Draft. After several months of not knowing if Murray would go with baseball, the 21-year-old did not sign with the Athletics and instead took the football path. Last night, he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals as the first pick of the NFL Draft. He is the first to ever be drafted in the first round of both drafts.
  • To help cope with their injury woes in the outfield, the Yankees acquired Cameron Maybin from the Indians on Thursday for cash. Maybin will definitely help New York, as Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, and Jacoby Ellsbury are all on the injured list.