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Series Preview 6/4-6: Reds vs. Cardinals

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St. Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

After a sweep of the Cubs over the weekend and a day off on Monday, the 30-28 Cardinals are ready to get back on the field and continue their recent winning ways. The Cardinals have won six of their last 10 games, and the Reds will be in St. Louis this week for a three-game series.

Entering play on Tuesday, the Cardinals are three games back of the Brewers for first place in the Central division. The Cubs are in second place, with the Pirates in fourth and the Reds in fifth. Nonetheless, the Reds’ +36 run differential is the fourth-highest in the National League.

In Tuesday’s series opener, Genesis Cabrera and Luis Castillo will be the starting pitching matchup. This will be the second start of Cabrera’s career and first at Busch Stadium. In his Major League debut back on May 29 against the Phillies and allowed three earned runs with five strikeouts in 3 23 innings. Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez is batting .313 with four homers in 48 at-bats against left-handed pitching in 2019.

Castillo will make his team-leading 13th start of the season and the seventh of his career against the Cardinals. Castillo leads the Reds in several pitching categories, with a 2.45 ERA and a .187 opponents’ batting average in 69 23 innings. Castillo leads the Central division with 82 strikeouts, and his 0.65 HR/9 rate (five home runs allowed thus far) is the lowest it has ever been.

Dakota Hudson and Anthony DeSclafani will take the mound on Wednesday. May was a very solid month for Hudson, and he will look to continue his recent trends over to the summer months. Hudson has allowed only eight earned runs over his last four starts, and five of his six starts last month were quality. Hudson has surrendered just one homer dating back to April 27. This Reds team ranks sixth in the National League with 84 home runs.

This will be DeSclafani’s 12th start of the season and third of the year against St. Louis. In his first start against the Cardinals on April 14 in Mexico, DeSclafani allowed four runs, highlighted by a three-run homer from Marcell Ozuna. The 29-year-old rebounded with six scoreless innings about two weeks later, on April 26 in St. Louis.

This series will conclude on Thursday afternoon with Miles Mikolas and Tyler Mahle. Mikolas was tough on the Cubs his last time out, holding Chicago to just one run across seven quiet innings. That performance came a week after Mikolas punched out nine Braves and held them to three runs in seven frames. We’ll look to see if Mikolas can keep this up against the Reds, who have scored seven runs off the right-hander in 10 innings this year.

Mahle has a 3.46 xFIP in 61 13 innings of work in 2019 and is well on his way to setting a career-high in innings and starts. Last year, Mahle logged 112 frames in 23 starts; Thursday will be his 12th of the year. Mahle struck out eight batters three times in May, including his last start on May 31 against the Nationals.

So, to recap:

Tuesday, 6/4, 7:15 | Cabrera v Castillo | FSMW, KMOX, CRN

Wednesday, 6/5, 7:15 | Hudson v DeSclafani | FSMW, KMOX, CRN

Thursday, 6/6, 12:15 | Mikolas v Mahle | FSMW, KMOX, CRN

Notes from around the league:

  • The Rockies have won eight games in a row and will start a three-game series in Chicago against the Cubs on Tuesday evening. In contrast, the Blue Jays have dropped six straight and are already 17 12 games behind the East-leading Yankees.
  • MLB extended Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera’s administrative leave through June 17. Herrera’s leave was extended as the league officials investigate his arrest from May 27. Herrera was arrested on a charge of simple assault for a alleged domestic violence incident. June 17 is the day of his arraignment, as things stand now.