While the St. Louis Cardinals have done relatively well during their grueling stretch of consecutive games, the Cincinnati Reds are trying to remain optimistic amid a disappointing 2020 campaign.
On Wednesday night, the visiting Cardinals can record a season-high fourth straight win with a series sweep of the struggling Reds, who have dropped four of their last five.
This will be the 20th consecutive day St. Louis (14-13) has played, and will be the 23rd game in that stretch because of doubleheaders.
After this series, the Cardinals will enjoy an off day on Thursday – its first since being idle nearly three weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak. With Tuesday’s 16-2 rout of Cincinnati (15-21), the Cardinals improved to 12-10 during that daunting stretch.
“I’m proud of everything these guys have been through, because they’ve been through a lot,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told the Cardinals’ official website. “And to be where they are and still be competing at the level they do with no days off and no rest for the weary, I admire that.”
Mozeliak should also be pleased to see the Cardinals’ bats come alive. They’ve scored 30 runs in their last three games, after totaling six in losing the previous four. Kolten Wong went 0-for-11 over a four-game stretch, but is 6-for-9 with three RBIs in two since.
On the mound, rookie Johan Oviedo (0-1, 3.60 ERA) makes his third career start. The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits in five innings of a 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday.
His St. Louis teammates have scored just two runs in his two starts. But Oviedo’s first start against Cincinnati comes against a Reds’ staff that has allowed 33 runs, 41 hits and walked 18 while posting a 10.67 ERA during their three-game losing streak.
Thanks to the additions of veterans Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas, plus an expected talented starting rotation, Cincinnati had high expectations for 2020. Instead, it has been quite frustrating with the club hitting just .217, the pitching staff saddled with a 4.51 ERA and a 7-11 mark at home. The Reds haven’t won a home series this season.
Through all that, however, the Reds are still holding out hope that things will turn around. Even amid this condensed campaign.
“We’re not expecting what we’ve been doing to last forever,” reliever Michael Lorenzen told the Reds’ official website. “Once we break out of that thing, I think you’re going to see what we’re really capable of.”
Cincinnati’s scheduled starter, Tyler Mahle (1-1, 3.91 ERA), showed what he’s capable of doing in his most recent outing. The right-hander allowed two solo homers and struck out 11 over a season-high 6 2/3 innings of a 6-5 win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
It was a solid bounce-back effort for Mahle, who allowed a two-run homer to Harrison Bader, one other run and four other hits over three innings of a 6-2 loss at St. Louis on Aug. 23.
Bader’s teammate Paul Goldschmidt is 4-for-8 versus Mahle, while Yadier Molina is 7-for-12 with a home run against him.
One bright spot of late for the Reds is veteran Joey Votto, who homered for the third time in four games on Tuesday. After being briefly benched during a five-game, 0-for-18 stretch, Votto is batting .533 (8-for-15) in five since.
St. Louis’ Brad Miller was 0-for-10 in his previous three games before going 4-for-6 with two homers and a career-high seven RBIs on Tuesday.
–Field Level Media