MLB Preview – Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals
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St. Louis -157
The Cincinnati Reds will try and even things up against the NL Central rival St. Louis Cardinals tonight in Game 2 of the three-game set. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Cincinnati’s normally active bats went quiet on Monday in a 1-0 shutout loss as a 115 road underdog. The setback dropped the Reds to an even 43-43 on the year and three games in back of the Cardinals in the division. They are 23-21 at home this season and 20-22 on the road.
This is still the most productive lineup in the National League with an average of 4.71 runs per game, but it has only managed to score a total of 10 runs in its last four games. Edison Volquez will be on the mound tonight for Cincinnati. He is 5-3 on the year with an ERA of 5.65 in 15 starts. He got the win against Tampa Bay last Wednesday; giving up three earned runs on four hits in 6.1 innings of work. Volquez is 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA against the Cardinals.
St. Louis is now 5-2 in its last seven games including a three-game sweep over Baltimore last week. It is 46-40 overall and one game ahead of Milwaukee and a game and a half ahead of Pittsburgh in the NL Central. The Cardinals are 24-22 on the road and 22-18 at home.
Albert Pujols, who broke a bone in his wrist in mid-June, has been upgraded to questionable for this game after coming off the DL. His return would be a welcome sight for a lineup that has struggled a bit in his absence. St. Louis still leads the NL in hitting with a .269 team batting average and is second in runs scored with 399, but is 6-7 since he went out.
Jaime Garcia is slated to get the start for the Cardinals. Last Thursday against the Orioles, he gave up five earned runs on 10 hits in just 5.1 innings but still managed to get the win. Overall this season he is 7-3 with a 3.33 ERA. Garcia is a perfect 4-0 against the Reds with an ERA of 4.33.
Head-to-head, the Reds are 4-3 this season including a three-game sweep at home in mid-May. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of the seven games. This time around, stick with Cincinnati to even this series as its lineup bounces back tonight to get the win.