Cardinals’ Michael Wacha Has Owned Reds in His Career, So ….

Matthew Jordan

Sunday, June 25, 2017 11:07 PM UTC

Sunday, Jun. 25, 2017 11:07 PM UTC

Two struggling NL Central teams open a series against one another in a fairly unusual Monday matinee (4:15 p.m. ET) as the Cincinnati Reds visit the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s a makeup game of one postponed earlier this year.

MLB Season Record: 24-17 (one game pending)

Cincinnati Reds At St. Louis Cardinals (-145, 9)

Not too often you get a one-game series, but that’s what Monday’s matchup between the Reds and Cardinals is. Both were supposed to be off but their game on Saturday, April 29 was rained out and this is the makeup date. Bit of a rough schedule for the Cards as they had to play Sunday night at home vs. Pittsburgh and then will fly out after this one to Arizona. St. Louis is in a stretch of 47 games in 48 days.

Cincinnati ended a four-game losing streak with a 6-2 win in Washington on Sunday, obviously had to fly to St. Louis and then will fly out to head back home to open a series with Milwaukee on Tuesday. The Reds have just two wins in their past 15 games and are last in the NL Central. Their pitching staff is truly horrendous, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Bryan Price is the first manager fired this season. He was one of the MLB betting favorites on that prop back in April – behind only Pittsburgh’s Clint Hurdle. Cincinnati is last in the majors in ERA at 5.27. Frankly, if Price isn’t the first one fired it might be St. Louis’ Mike Matheny as his club is certainly underperforming.

The Reds remain without shortstop Zack Cozart, who was having his best season. He’s on the disabled list with a strained quad. He’s Top 10 in the National League in OPS (.966), batting average (.320) and slugging (.562). Cozart is leading the NL in All-Star votes at his position. When he went down, Cozart led all MLB players in WAR at 2.8 as determined by FanGraphs.

The Reds scored 28 runs in their four-game sweep of the Cardinals from June 5-8 at Great American Ball Park, their highest total in a four-game set vs. St. Louis since scoring 30 in June 1970 at the old Riverfront Stadium. These teams split two games at Busch Stadium in April with the middle one being the rainout.


Monday’s Probable Pitchers

Cincinnati’s rotation has been injury-ravaged this season. The 23 pitchers used by the Reds rank among the MLB leaders. They have used 12 starting pitchers, including six rookies. Only the Mariners (13) have used more starting pitchers. The Reds will get some good injury news for this game in the return from the DL of lefty Brandon Finnegan.

Finnegan (1-0) has been out since mid-April due to a with a strained trapezius muscle. He has made three starts this year in the majors and had a 3.00 ERA in three starts in the minors this month. Finnegan is 4-3 with a 3.13 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals. They are hitting only .207 off him.  Matt Carpenter is 4-for-11 off him with two homers and five RBIs. Yadier Molina is 4-for-8 with a dinger.

The Cardinals’ Michael Wacha (3-3, 4.76) started the season well – he had a 2.74 ERA after throwing six shutout innings vs. the Giants on May 19, but things have gone downhill since. Wacha has lasted only four innings in each of his past two and given up nine runs and 16 hits. He did avoid the loss in both, however.

Wacha is 7-1 with a 2.95 ERA in 15 career appearances (13 starts) vs. the Reds. The Cardinals have won his last eight starts vs. Cincinnati with Wacha 6‐0 with a 2.38 ERA over 53.0 innings. His first start of the year was a win over the Reds, allowing one run and three hits over six. He’ll surely be glad to avoid Cozart as he’s 12-for-25 with five extra-base hits off Wacha. Joey Votto is 12-for-32 against him with a homer.


Reasoning For Pick

Wacha largely owns the Reds and is 3‐1 with a 3.50 ERA (43.2 IP) in eight starts at Busch Stadium this year compared to 0-2 with a 7.52 ERA in four road starts. Cincinnati is just 12-25 on the road this season. Easy call here for my MLB pick even with Wacha’s recent struggles.

Free MLB Pick: Cardinals -145Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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