The first place St. Louis Cardinals are in Cincinnati today for the first of a three-game series against the Reds. The Cardinals, who stand at 67-38 for the season, lead the 47-56 Reds by 19 games for the season. However, the Reds performed strongly in St. Louis last week, taking the series with two shutout wins. It was the first time that Cincinnati has won an away series against St. Louis since 2011.
Tonight’s 7:10 p.m. EST game will be a faceoff between Cincinnati’s Anthony DeSclafani (6-7, 3.75) and St. Louis’ John Lackey (9-6, 2.78). These two pitchers faced each other last Wednesday in Busch Stadium, in which outfielder Jay Bruce hit a solo home run off Lackey to win the game 1-0 for the Reds. Earlier this season, Lackey allowed four runs in his season debut at Great American Ball Park, garnering the Reds a 5-4 victory.
The next few games should be interesting, as they will pit some of St. Louis’ more seasoned pitchers –in addition to Lackey, Carlos Martinez (11-4, 2.61) and Michael Wacha (12-4, 3.09) will be starting games for the Cardinals— against the Reds’ very green pitching staff.
With the recent trades of popular pitchers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, the Reds are counting on a repeat performance by DeSclafani, as well as strong performances by David Holmberg (1-0, 3.00) and Michael Lorenzen (3-6, 4.80), to carry them to victory. Holmberg will start for just his second time this season on Wednesday. Lorenzen is slightly more experienced as a starter, but has never opened against the Cardinals.
After Thursday, the Reds will have started rookie pitchers in eight consecutive games. In recent years, the Reds have struggled to score against St. Louis. The Cardinals are 6-3 against the Reds this season. Maybe some young blood is what Cincinnati needs to win another series against the St. Louis.