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The St. Louis Cardinals will play the Cincinnati Reds for the rest of our lives* - A series preview

*(statement might be hyperbole)

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals are set to play the Cincinnati Reds this weekend in their final series before the All Star Break, then will play the Reds immediately upon conclusion of said break. In this preview, we will just focus on the first series.

On the season the Cardinals are 4 and 2 against the Reds scoring 23 runs while allowing 17. When they first played the Reds were coming off a nine-game losing streak. In the second series things had normalized for the Reds and they had won a few series in a row. For this series they are coming off two series wins in a row, but those wins are proceeded by going 2 and 5 in series with one series split that included a 7-game losing streak. The Reds are a team that can put together some wins, but do not quite have enough talent to win consistently. The Cardinals are three games back of the Brewers and this series could be a good opportunity to make up some ground right before the break.

The Cardinals will face Hunter Greene on Friday evening. As of my previous preview he had only ten major league innings under his belt. Now with a little more than 75 more innings since then he is still striking out a lot of batters with at 28.9% K-rate and still walking a lot of batters with a 10% walk rate. He is also still allowing a lot homers with a HR/9 of 2.32. His ERA and FIP have both grown to 5.70 and 5.43, respectively. He has started throwing his slider more and has nearly abandoned throwing a changeup, but his main pitch is still the 4-seamer. His 4-seamer averages over 98 mph, but it is still in the middle of the plate and hitters are batting with a .301 average and slugging .644 against it. It has been his least valuable pitch this season according to Baseball Savant’s Run Value Metric.

Greene is the Reds number one prospect and following him for Saturday’s game is the number two prospect, Nick Lodolo. Similarly to Greene, in my last preview of him he had only 9 major league innings pitched and was walking a lot and striking out a lot. Stylistically he is the opposite of Greene. He mainly throws a sinker at around 94 mph, then mixes in a curveball and a changeup. He also shows a lot of promise if he can improve his command of his pitches.

On Sunday the Cardinals face another Reds top prospect: Graham Ashcraft. Ashcraft is the number eight prospect for the Reds. He has the lowest strikeout right, walk rate, and home runs per nine of the three pitchers the Cardinals will see this series along with a 4.45 ERA and 4.00 FIP in just under 53 innings pitched. His main fastball is a cutter. Secondarily he will throw a slider and then a sinker. His cutter has been a pretty good pitch for him. He has been one of the best in the league in exit velocity against at 86.4 mph. He has only given up 14 extra base hits so far this season.

The Reds will be missing Designated Hitter Mike Moustakas. Moustakas was placed on the COVID-related Injured List yesterday. The Reds have recalled Max Shrock in his place.

In other news, Joey Votto is excited to get some BBQ in St. Louis:

He will have to get some gooey butter cake for dessert, too. Gavin Lux became a recent fan during the Cardinals previous series against the Dodgers:


Friday, July 15 at 7:15 pm CDT: Hunter Greene vs. Andre Pallante
Saturday, July 16 at 1:15 pm CDT: Nick Lodolo vs. Miles Mikolas
Sunday, July 17 at 1:15 pm CDT: Graham Ashcraft vs. TBD