Very important series starts Friday in St. Louis between the Cincinnati Reds and Cardinals. While the Cubs are likely to win the NL Central, the Cards and Reds are both smack-dab in the Wild-Card race with the expanded field.
How to Bet Reds at Cardinals MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Friday, 8:15 PM ET
- Where: Busch Stadium
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Luis Castillo/Adam Wainwright
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: TBA
Starting Reds center fielder Nick Senzel (undisclosed) could return to the team as soon as this weekend. Senzel was placed on the injured list August 19 for undisclosed reasons, soon after the Reds had an unnamed player test positive for COVID-19. He’s been working out at the team’s alternate training site. President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams indicated that he hoped Senzel could be back as early as Friday. Cincinnati has also struggled to find a quality leadoff hitter.
Senzel was in the midst of playing well when he hit the IL, the owner of an overall 110 OPS+ on the season and a .943 OPS over the last 12 games in which he played. The Reds could use him as their offense has been terrible. Outfielder Shogo Akiyama has not lived up to expectations. The Japanese outfielder who signed a three-year/$21M contract this past winter and is barely at the Mendoza Line.
This disappointing season could lead to Manager David Bell being fired. When Williams was recently asked about Bell’s job security, he said: “That has not been something we have spent any time on. We’re spending time on trying to get the right results out of the player group we have. I would be extremely disappointed if we don’t make the playoffs. This is the year with the highest expectations in recent memory, so the disappointment would be far greater.”
Speaking of disappointments, Friday’s starting pitcher Luis Castillo (1-5) was an All-Star last year but has taken a huge step back in 2020. Castillo struck out eight over six innings of two-run ball last Friday to pick up a win over the Pirates during the first game of a doubleheader. Castillo gave up seven hits, and he walked two. Both of the runs allowed came on an RBI single by Colin Moran and a run-scoring double off the bat of Gregory Polanco in the third inning.
Castillo has been dominant at forcing strikeouts this season, but he’s struggled to limit run production. As a result, he was charged with losses in five of his last six starts. However, he took advantage of the struggling Pirates. The right-hander now carries a 3.95 ERA and 60:17 K:BB over 43.1 innings in 2020.Why Bet on St. Louis?
Earlier this week, the Cards sent top prospect and outfielder Dylan Carlson to their alternate training site. Carlson has lost some playing time of late and has struggled to the tune of a .162/.215/.243 batting line through 79 plate appearances during his first stint in the majors, but it was still a surprise. Carlson, known for his approach at the plate, was walking just 6.3% of the time while striking out 29.1% of the time.
But he wasn’t starting, so he wasn’t in the dugout, and if he wasn’t starting, he wasn’t getting the at-bats the Cardinals have said are necessary for him to stay on the roster.
“He’s not going to get at-bats, (and) it’s going to be hard to stay sharp and get to where you want to be physically and mentally,” Manager Mike Shildt said. “So we’ll go down, reset the trap, and he’ll be ready. We expect him to go back and hit that reset button. I would be surprised if he’s not (returned to the majors), but I can’t say that he will for sure. We would definitely welcome him back when and if needed.”
With Carlson down and Dexter Fowler on the injured list, Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas, Harrison Bader, and Tommy Edman are the only outfielders on the roster. So far, only Bader has been playing well. Edman has slowly been coming alive at the plate, but has not been slugging nor getting hits where he did in 2019.
It’s veteran Adam Wainwright (4-0) on the mound. Wainwright pitched well again in Saturday’s victory over the Cubs, allowing just two runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings of work. He struck out six on the day while issuing only one free pass. Wainwright served up a leadoff solo homer to Ian Happ to begin the game — and another to Happ in the fifth inning — but that would be all the scoring done against him. Wainwright now carries a 2.68 ERA and 0.92 WHIP over 40.1 innings across his first six starts of 2020.
He faced the Reds on Aug. 20 and allowed four runs — two earned — over seven innings in a no-decision. Two runs in the first were unearned, and the Reds tacked on single runs in the second and third innings, but from then on Wainwright was brilliant. After that third inning run he settled in to retire the final 15 batters he faced.Expert Prediction Cardinals 4, Reds 3
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