The Cincinnati Reds open their series against the St. Louis Cardinals with a 3-1 victory on Friday behind excellent pitching from Luis Castillo and a home run off the bat of Joey Votto. Cincinnati is in fourth place in the National League Central 5 ½ games behind front runner Chicago and has lost three of its last five through Friday's game.
St Louis it seems has played doubleheaders more often than not. As the Cardinals make up for postponed games. This can take its toll on players and the Cardinals have lost two straight but remain within striking distance of the first place Chicago Cubs trailing by just three games following their loss on Friday to the Reds in the opening game of this series. The Cardinals have lost four of the last six.
Cincinnati needs help at the plateCincinnati has come up short at the plate this season as the Reds have the worst overall team batting average .211. The Reds slugging percentage is not much better at .400 which is 21st in the majors, and the Reds have scored just 172 runs which is 27th overall. Right fielder Nick Castellanos is leading Cincinnati in home runs with 12 as well as RBIs with 28, while left fielder Jesse Winker has a team-high .276 batting average and .569 slugging percentage.
On the mound, Cincinnati is much better off than at the plate. Trevor Bauer is leading the Reds starters in ERA with 1.74 and has a team-high 71 strikeouts. Sonny Gray has a team-high five wins. As a team, Cincinnati has the third-best number of Quality Starts with 21 and the 10th best team ERA at 4.14. Opposing hitters are averaging just .220 at the plate against Cincinnati pitching which is third-best overall in baseball. On Sunday, Tyler Mahle receives the nod on the hill for Cincinnati. The Cincinnati right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.89 ERA and 45 strikeouts. The Reds have lost three of Mahle’s last five starts.
Cardinals pitching is improving but lack support at the plateOn the mound, the St Louis Cardinals have lowered their team ERA to just 3.70 which is 6th best in baseball. The Cardinals team WHIP is third-best in baseball 1.20 and St Louis pitchers are allowing opposing hitters to average just .212 at the plate which is third-best in the majors. Veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright has four wins, 35 strikeouts and a 2.91 ERA to lead St Louis in all three categories. The starting pitcher for St Louis on Sunday will be Carlos Martinez, who is 0-2 with a 12.27 ERA and 5 strikeouts in just two starts.
St Louis needs more production at the plate if the Cardinals hope to reach the MLB postseason in 2020. Paul Goldschmidt is batting .317 to lead the Cardinals and the first baseman has a team-high five home runs. Third baseman Brad Miller has knocked in 21 runs to lead St Louis. However, the St Louis team batting average is just .245 which is 15th in baseball and the Cardinals have scored only 169 runs which is 28th.
- St Louis has won 37 of the last 54 against a team with a record below .500
- Cincinnati has lost 11 of the last 16 when tagged as the underdog
- The Reds have lost five of the last six after winning the previous game