Neither of these NL Central teams has come flying out of the gate, as both offenses have stumbled off the starting line. St. Louis at least showed signs of life in winning 5-3 yesterday and will look to build on that momentum against the injury-plagued Reds.
Cincinnati Trying to
Survive Injuries and Schedule
The Reds began the season with a whopping seven players on the DL, wiping out what was supposed to be a strength, the backend of the bullpen. Aroldis Chapman, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton have all been out. Broxton joined Cincinnati in St. Louis after his rehab assignment at Double-A Pensacola.
"Everything is good," Broxton said. "I felt good. I bounced back good.” His return is imminent, just not official and will likely roll right into the closers position.
Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday and could start today, depending on what new manager Bryan Price thinks. Cincinnati could certainly use another bat in the lineup, especially with the staggering starts of Zack Cozart (1-for-23) and Billy Hamilton 1-for-17).
Cincinnati did not receive any help from the schedule-maker, having to play the Redbirds six times in the first nine games and will open up a homestand against Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh starting Friday. MLB baseball handicappers have to be tepid about supporting the Reds today and the week ahead.
St. Louis Offense off to Bumpy Start
Maybe all the Cards needed was little home cooking to get the offense in gear after Monday’s beating of the Reds. Prior to that, St. Louis was averaging 2.8 runs a game, batting below the Mendoza Line (.200) at .186, with an on-base percentage of .265.
If anyone is going to use the Cardinals with their sports picks, they want to be assured this team is among the best run-producing units in the National League like last year at 4.7 a game and not have scuffling players like Kolten Wang, Yadier Molina, Matt Holiday, Johnny Peralta, Allen Craig and Peter Bourjas, all hitting below .238 or less. Holliday in particular has been a Reds tormentor since 2009 and could bust loose.
Pitching Matchup for Tuesday
Already we have a repeat matchup with Homer Bailey facing Lance Lynn. St. Louis was established by sportsbooks as a -140 money line favorite with Lynn, who was knocked around for eight hits and three runs over just five innings against Cincy last Thursday. Nonetheless, the MLB odds look accurate when you consider Lynn and teammates have won six of seven meetings with the Reds.
Bailey was hammered for seven hits and four runs and never made it out of the fifth inning, not helping himself with three walks in the 7-6 defeat. Lifetime, the Reds right-hander is 5-10 with a 4.90 ERA (1.469 WHIP) and his team has lost 13 of his 18 starts versus their Arch rivals.
Head to Head Combat
In the past three years, St. Louis is 11-5 against the Reds.
Here is a number that is worth consideration, the Cards with Lynn on the bump are 15-1 vs. NL teams scoring 3.8 or less runs a game on the season since 2012.
The total of 7.5 has us finding St. Louis is 19-9 OVER versus NL squads averaging 3.8 or fewer runs a contest since last year near the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.
What’s on Tap for
Series Finale Wednesday?
Mike Leake (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will take the ball for Cincinnati and he lasted 6 2/3 innings after throwing 26 pitches against the Mets in the first inning. He allowed two bombs to Lucas Duda, which was his undoing in a 4-3 defeat.
Shelby Miller (0-1, 8.44 ERA) lost to Pittsburgh for the fifth straight time in his initial start, having obvious control problems with the fastball. He will need to iron these out if St. Louis is to win in the Hump Day matinee.
The Winner Is...
With is MLB pick, the pitching differential are too hard to ignore and with the Cardinals at home tonight and Cincinnati really struggling to push across runs, I’m with the home team.