The St. Louis Cardinals are on one again. Since splitting their last series against the Cincinnati Reds, the Cardinals have lost three of their last four series and have gone 3-8 over that time. Perhaps a visit from the Reds will end the skid much like it began it. Maybe that is the symmetry the universe demands.
Against their efforts the Cardinals will face the trio of Ben Lively, Andrew Abbott, and Hunter Greene. The Cardinals faced Lively in the third game of that series, losing 3-10. Lively went six innings in that game, allowing only two runs off five hits with eight strikeouts and two walks in one of his better pitching performances of the season so far.
Making his second start of his career on Saturday is the Reds #10 prospect, left-hander Andrew Abbott. In just over 38 innings in AAA he had a 34.8% strikeout rate to a 9.0% walk rate. He had a little trouble with giving up home runs with a 1.88 HR/9 and had a 3.05 ERA in his seven starts. In his debut on June 5 he threw six innings of one-hit ball and allowed zero runs on six strikeouts and four walks. According to Baseball Savant he mostly throws a 4-seamer around 93 mph and a curveball coming in around 80 mph. He also mixes in a changeup for righties and a sweeper.
On Sunday the Cardinals will face the Reds best pitcher this season, Hunter Greene. Devin profiled him Friday morning. The young righty in his second season in the majors has pitched a 3.92 ERA with a 3.48 FIP. He is striking out 33% of batters while walking just over 9% with a batting average against of .238. As Devin wrote in his article, he mostly throws a big 4-seamer averaging almost 99 mph and follows that up with nasty slider. On occasion he will throw a changeup to keep hitters thinking, but mostly to lefties and still not very often.
The Reds offense has been a weak spot. As a team they have a 93 wRC+. The team’s best player has been centerfielder TJ Friedl, who is currently on the injured list and might be activated Saturday. He was slashing .326/.377/.496 for a 131 wRC+ before his injury. Other notable injuries are to rightfielder Wil Myers and third baseman Nick Senzel. Filling in has been the Reds top prospect Elly De La Cruz, who has made a splash in his first 13 plate appearances of his career. He has four hits — a single, a double, a triple, and a homer — and has struck out six times. He was lighting up AAA before his call-up with a 151 wRC+ in 38 games.
The Reds relievers are all fairly cromulent with one very notable exception in Alexis Diaz, who has gotten even better after a strong 2022 season to be dominant in just over 24 innings in 2023. His K% is 48.9% to a 11.7% walk rate. His average against is just .111 and [shouting] he has yet to give up a home run this season. He has a 1.48 ERA and an even lower 1.10 FIP.
The Reds have a pretty exciting team with several young players. The Cardinals have been inconsistent and are trying to snap out of another skid. Let’s see if the Cardinals can take advantage of some mistakes by these young pitchers and get out ahead early. Otherwise, they are in for a tough match.
Friday, June 9 at 7:15 pm: Ben Lively vs. Jordan Montgomery
Saturday, Jun 10 at 1:15 pm: Andrew Abbott vs. Miles Mikolas
Sunday Jun 11 at 1:15 pm: Hunter Greene vs. Adam Wainwright