Friday night is an NL Central showdown as the Cincinnati Reds (10-14) travel to Busch Stadium to take on the St. Louis Cardinals (15-9). The Reds are coming off a series win over the Atlanta Braves, including a 4-2 victory on Thursday night. The Cardinals had an off day on Thursday, but prior to that, they had a huge divisional sweep over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The pitching matchup for Friday’s game consists of Anthony DeSclafani (0-1, 5.59 ERA) taking the mound for the Reds while Miles Mikolas (2-1, 4.97 ERA) will counter for the Cardinals. First pitch from St. Louis is scheduled for 8:15 pm ET.
The moneyline for Friday’s game is set at the Cincinnati Reds +125 and the St. Louis Cardinals -145. The over/under for runs scored is set at 8.5.
Reds Hoping To Overcome Early Woes
At 10-14, the Cincinnati Reds currently find themselves in last place in the NL Central. While the season is still young, the Reds will need to turn things around quickly if they hope to compete with the likes of the St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs.
While the Reds may not be the most complete team in the world, they do have superstars. Joey Votto is one such superstar. While he has actually gotten off to a rough start this season, hitting just .229, he still gets on base at a decent clip of .349.
Still, anytime you throw in the likes of Votto, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Eugenio Suarez, you have the ability to score runs. The problem for Cincy is that while they have the ability, they have not done it consistently, as they currently sit 25th in the majors in runs per game at 3.48.
On the pitching side, they have actually been pretty solid. As a staff, they rank 4th in the majors with a 3.29 ERA. While the staff has been solid, Anthony DeSclafani has struggled more than any other starter. On the season, he is 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and opponents are hitting .227 against him.
In 19.1 innings, he has allowed 17 hits, 12 earned runs, 5 home runs and has struck out 22 while walking 8. In his last outing, a 3-2 win over the Padres, DeSclafani actually pitched pretty well. In 6 innings, he allowed just 2 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 6. He will hope to build off of that success on Friday.
Cardinals Look For More Divisional Success
With some of the other teams in the NL Central playing inconsistently, the Cardinals would love nothing more than to create some early space between them and the competition in the division. To try to do so Friday, the Redbirds will turn to Miles Mikolas. On the season, he is 2-1 with a 4.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and opponents are hitting .248 against him.
In 29 innings, he has allowed 28 hits, 16 earned runs, 5 home runs and has struck out 15 while walking 7. In his last outing, he was fantastic in a 10-2 win over the Mets, going 8 innings, allowing 4 hits, 2 earned runs and striking out 4.
Offensively, St. Louis has been on fire to start the season. They currently rank 2nd in all of baseball in runs per game with 5.71. They also rank 7th in home runs per game (1.58) and 6th in slugging percentage (.474).
One of the leaders for the Cardinals has been newcomer Paul Goldschmidt. This season, he is hitting .281/.373/.594 with 9 home runs, 19 runs batted in and 19 runs scored. Equally impressive has been Marcel Ozuna. The outfielder is hitting .272/.366/.654 with 9 home runs, 21 runs batted in and 20 runs scored.
Also, watch out for Matt Carpenter in this one as he owns a .409 batting average with 3 home runs and 4 runs batted in over 22 at-bats against Desclafani in his career.
Cardinals Open With A Victory
It is just hard to find much to like in this one if you are a Reds fan. The Cardinals offense has been better, the pitching matchup leans in favor of the Cardinals (although not by a ton), and the Reds are playing on the road at Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals are 10-3.
It is baseball, which means anything can happen on any given night, but for my money, I am all over the Cardinals. I do think both teams will give up runs, so I am actually in favor of the over on the 8.5, but in a straight-up matchup, I will take the Cardinals even at the -145 moneyline.