Reds vs Cardinals: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 01: Tommy Edman #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals steals second base against Freddy Galvis #3 of the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 01: Tommy Edman #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals steals second base against Freddy Galvis #3 of the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning.
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – AUGUST 09: Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Previewing the pitching matchups

There’s one good thing in all the interruptions to start the 2020 season; Sonny Gray (4-1 2.05 ERA) is making his sixth start in the Reds 22nd game of the season. Gray will face longtime Cardinals fixture Adam Wainwright (2-0 1.64 ERA) in tonight’s opener.

What more can we say about Sonny Gray? The Reds right-hander currently leads the NL with 45 strikeouts, ranks fifth in ERA and he’s one of the few Redlegs to have success against the Cardinals. Last year in three starts, Gray allowed two earned runs and nine hits over 16.2 frames while fanning 19 Redbirds.

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Reds Country, it only seems like Adam Wainwright has been in St. Louis for 20 years. Entering his 15th season with the Birds on the Bat, Waino and the Reds, needless to say, are on a first-name basis. However, the 38-year-old right-hander has struggled in his career against Cincinnati.

His career ERA of 5.25 against the Reds is his highest against any opponent he’s faced more than twice. To nobody’s surprise, Wainwright has had his hands full with Joey Votto. The Reds legend is slashing .333/.424/.627 with three homers against the three-time All-Star.

Friday night is Disco night as Anthony DeSclafani (1-1 6.32 ERA) battles fellow right-hander Dakota Hudson (0-2 5.40 ERA). Let’s hope DeSclafani’s last start was an anomaly. It was arguably the worst start of this six-year career.

Recording just six outs, DeSclafani allowed nine runs on as many hits while serving up three long balls. In his previous two starts, Disco tossed 11 scoreless innings. If recent history is any indication, expect a strong performance. Anthony DeSclafani is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA with 31 strikeouts over his last 26 innings against the Cardinals.

It’s been tough sledding for Dakota Hudson to begin the 2020 season. The 25-year-old has not logged five innings in either of his two starts. However, he’s had success against the Redlegs in the past. During four starts last year he went 3-0 and abused Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart. The Cincinnati backstop is 1-for-8 with two punchouts versus Hudson.

Wade Miley (0-2 16.30 ERA) gets another start Saturday against fellow southpaw Kwang Hyun Kim (0-0 3.86 ERA) of the Cardinals. For starters, Miley is much better than what he’s shown in a Cincinnati uniform. There’s reason to believe a solid start is in the offing.

Facing the Redbirds seven times in his career, Wade Miley is 3-3 with a respectable 3.86 ERA. However, he’s been exceptional at Busch Stadium. In four starts he’s compiled a 2.70 ERA over 23.1 innings with 19 strikeouts.

Your guess is as good as mine as to what to expect from Kwang Hyun Kim. The 33-year-old spent a dozen years in the Korean League before coming stateside. In his first two MLB appearances, he’s made a start and earned a save.  Tossing 4.2 innings this year, the left-hander has walked three while only fanning one.

In Sunday’s series finale, Tyler Mahle (0-0 3.38 ERA) squares off against St. Louis right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-2 6.14 ERA). If nothing else, Mahle will be well-rested. His last appearance was his first out of the bullpen in his career on August 12th versus the Kansas City Royals.

Like Wade Miley, Mahle has had success pitching in Busch Stadium in his young career. Making three starts, Mahle’s accumulated an impressive 3.31 ERA and has only surrendered one homer with 11 strikeouts in 16.1 innings of work. Look for Cards veteran Matt Carpenter to take Sunday off. Carp is 1-for-10 lifetime against Mahle with three strikeouts.

Which Ponce de Leon will the Reds see on Sunday? Hopefully, not the one Cincinnati saw in his MLB debut. That night in July of 2018, Ponce de Leon hurled seven no-hit innings against the Reds. Since that initial performance, the Reds have roughed up the 28-year-old for seven runs in 7.1 frames.