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Cardinals play three games at a bandbox against the Reds for a short road trip - A Series Preview

The Reds have barely any starters and play in a bandbox. Should score some runs

Cincinnati Reds v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Reds have a very new team. If you were a 2020 Reds fan or even 2021 Reds fans, and you got magically transported to August of 2022 and watched the Reds, you would not recognize them. Unfortunately for the Reds, new and young are not synonymous as this is not a particularly young team. Just four players are 25 or younger on the active roster, and none younger than 24. If you expand it to include the injured players, you do add four more players, though the Reds have 18 players on the injured list right now. Hunter Greene is the youngest on the MLB roster at 23-years-old.

Eleven players who are on the 26 man roster were acquired in 2022. Yes, eleven players. Nearly half their team was not even in the Reds organization last year. 10 other players came into this year with less than one year of service time in the big leagues, including seven players who had less than 30 days of service time. Four were MLB free agent contracts, one was a minor league free agent, three were trades, two were claimed off waivers midseason, and one was purchased from the Cardinals, Austin Romine.

Yes, if you thought the catcher production of the Cardinals was bad, meet the Cincinnati Reds, featuring a duo of Austin Romine (23 wRC+) and Chuckie Robinson (6 strikeouts in first 10 PAs). After Joey Votto’s season-ending injury, he is being replaced by former Pirate and Cardinal killer Colin Moran. Rookie of the Year winner Jonathan India has gotten his season back on track and his current double play partner and former top 100 prospect Jose Barrero has not hit anything (22 wRC+ in 204 career PAs). Kyle Farmer has since moved to 3B. Donovan Solano will play somewhere and actually has a 129 wRC+ though he has less than 200 PAs because of being hurt most of the year.

In the outfield, they have Jake Fraley being platooned with Stuart Fairchild. Fraley has a 112 wRC+ but - surprise - has spent most of the year injured. Regular centerfielder Nick Senzel has been hurt he last few games, but let’s hope he’s healthy for this series, because he has a 72 wRC+ on the year. TJ Friedl, with a 93 wRC+, has been in his place. As far as the Reds’ bullpen, they don’t seem to have a named closer, although Alexis Diaz has their most recent save and happens to be their best reliever. The rest of their relievers seem to range from okay as middle relief to straight up bad. Diaz is really the only shutdown guy.

Monday - 5:40 PM

Miles Mikolas (3.35 ERA/3.72 FIP/3.81 xFIP) vs. Chase Anderson (AAA Stats: 4.50 ERA/5.46 FIP/5.09 xFIP)

Right, so the Reds are suddenly starved for pitching. In August, both Hunter Greene and Graham Ashcraft have landed on the IL, and they both join Connor Overton, Vladmir Guitterez, and uh, TJ Zeuch who I didn’t even know the Cards released. He got picked up by the Reds, gave up 18 runs in 10.2 innings in three starts, and landed on the IL. So now they turn to Anderson, who has already played for two organizations, both in AAA and he’s opted out of both for an MLB chance. Which he now gets. But he hasn’t been very good in AAA.

Mikolas has made two starts against the Reds this year and actually got lit up in one of them, allowing six runs at Great American Ballpark. He had a better start at Busch, but we’re at GABP tomorrow. And... looking through his history, he has one good start there (1 ER in 7 IP), one okay start (3 ER in 6 IP), and three really bad ones (5 ER in 5 IP, 4 ER in 3 IP, and earlier this year 6 ER in 5 IP). I don’t like predicting sweeps, Mikolas has had a lot of trouble at GABP and this just feels like a letdown game.

My pick: Reds

Tuesday - 5:40 PM

Dakota Hudson (4.23 ERA/4.41 FIP/4.81 xFIP) vs. Justin Dunn (5.12 ERA/7.31 FIP/5.48 xFIP)

In defense of Dunn’s stats, it’s a grand total of 4 starts. But projection systems don’t like him much either. In AAA, he had a 6.92 ERA with a 6.15 FIP. The Reds are really desperate for starting pitching right now. They just don’t have the depth to deal with the injuries they’ve had.

The Reds might be a good matchup for Hudson. Against RHP this year, they have the 25th lowest walk rate in baseball and that includes Joey Votto taking a good chunk of PAs, who won’t be present in this series. In a twist from Mikolas, Hudson has pitched a bad game against the Reds at Busch and a good one at GABP. Actually, Hudson doesn’t seem to have a huge problem pitching at GABP, as he has three starts with a 1.93 ERA in three starts.

My pick: Cards

Wednesday - 5:40 PM

Jose Quintana (3.45 ERA/3.28 FIP/3.83 xFIP) vs. Mike Minor (6.10 ERA/5.89 FIP/5.05 xFIP)

If you have the capital and the time, this is the start to drive down to Cincinnati and pencil in. Albert Pujols is guaranteed a start and well, Minor’s a very homerable hitter. I won’t be doing that because I have neither, but just a heads up. Minor has been a starter for nearly his entire career and I would recommend he remake himself as a reliever. He did that once before, with a 2.2 fWAR season, and then parlayed that into a regular rotation job for the next four years. Probably can’t do that again, but maybe he can be good in the bullpen.

Quintana is coming off two rough starts, the first because he clearly didn’t have it, and the second, he just ran into some bad luck and a good hitting team against lefties. The latter was always going to be a tough matchup. The Reds are easier, Great American Ballpark is not an easy place to pitch.

My pick: Cards

Individual Game Prediction: 34-26

Series Prediction: 7-12

For the second week in a row, I ignored my gut instinct and I had I gone with my gut instinct, I would be 8-10 in series. (I also blatantly threw a 5-game Cubs series and predicted 5 wins because I couldn’t put Cubs as my pick) My gut told me to predict a sweep against the DBacks and to predict a win on Saturday since I was going to the game. I’m not sure if the Cardinals will actually lose tonight, but I feel like predicting a loss works both ways: my gut tells me it’s going to be a let down game and the Cards have better odds if I don’t predict a sweep since I’m clearly terrible at predicting series. Somehow, doing pretty good on the individual games. Would have thought that they’d be flipped given the randomness of baseball. (In hindsight, probably should have said predicting a 2-1 series win and getting a sweep instead as a correct prediction since I correctly predicted a series win, but had to go specific)