Reds vs Cardinals: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 23: Dylan Carlson #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals attempts to score a run against the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium on August 23, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. Carlson was out at the plate. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 23: Dylan Carlson #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals attempts to score a run against the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium on August 23, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. Carlson was out at the plate. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 5
Next
Harrison Bader #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Cincinnati Reds
ST LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 23: Harrison Bader #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

St. Louis pitching staff among the best in the NL

Pitching has dominated the 2020 baseball season and the Cardinals (12-13) staff has more than met the challenge this year. The 75 hits allowed by the starters are the fewest in the National League and their 3.49 ERA trails only the Reds and Dodgers among starting rotations However, manager Mike Shildt would make Sparky Anderson proud of his quick hook.

Redbird starters are averaging just 4.5 innings per start ranking 12th among NL clubs while the 71 pitches St. Louis starters toss is the lowest total in the league. No Cardinal starter has thrown 100 pitches in a game this season. For comparison’s sake, Reds starters have crossed the century mark a league-high 11 times and the 89 pitches they average per start also leads the senior circuit.

Needless to say, Shildt uses his bullpen early and often.The St. Louis bullpen is third in the NL with a 3.93 mark, however, there’s evidence to suggest they’re more lucky than good. The BABIP rate of .238 allowed by the relief corps the best in the league. Is that mark sustainable? Probably not.

The Cardinals bullpen averages just 8.93 strikeouts per nine innings which is 12th among all National League bullpens while their 4.32 walk rate per nine frames is above the league average of 4.17 free passes. Don’t let the ERA fool you this bullpen can be susceptible to meltdowns.

Entering play yesterday, the Cards are the best hitting team in the NL Central. Before you get too worried they’re batting just .232 for 11th best in the league. Nevertheless, St. Louis is among the leagues best in reaching base. Their .335 OBP is well above the NL average of .324 and their walk rate of 11.2% is tied for the league lead with the Cubs. However, it takes a lot of effort to score runs once they reach base.

Sporting a slugging rate of only .362, the Cardinals are near the cellar in that department and well below the .418 league averaging meaning they are having to string numerous hits together to cross the plate. Additionally, the Cards sparingly use the running the game.  Their eight stolen bases are a league-worst. It’s fair to say this isn’t Whitey Ball.