Reds vs Cardinals: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 4: Fans get ready for the opening day game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on April 4, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 4: Fans get ready for the opening day game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on April 4, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during a game
CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 26: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during a game. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Cardinals

Don’t be surprised if today’s opener doesn’t resemble the Wainwright-Cueto duel of 2014 as a pair of right-handed aces take the mound. Jack Flaherty gets the call for the Redbirds, while Cincinnati will counter with Luis Castillo.

This will be Castillo’s second Opening Day start, and let’s hope it matches his 2019 debut. La Piedra tossed 5.2 innings of two-hit, one-run ball while fanning eight Pirates and leading the Reds to an Opening Day victory. A similar start today should see the Reds on the smiling side of the scoreboard.

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As for Flaherty, he’s looking to put a subpar 2020 season behind him in which he went 4-3 with a 4.91 ERA in nine starts. In seven career starts against the Redlegs, Flaherty owns a 2-2 mark with a sterling 2.48 ERA while punching out 34 in 32.2 frames. Needless to say, the Reds will have their hands full.

Saturday afternoon will showcase long-time Cardinals’ pitcher Adam Wainwright opposing Tyler Mahle. The Cincinnati right-hander is looking to build upon a solid 2020 season where he sported a 3.59 ERA and fanned 60 in only 47.2 innings.

However, Mahle has struggled mightily in his career against the Redbirds. Throughout eight starts, Mahle is just 1-3 with a 5.45 ERA.  His lone victory versus the Cardinals was during his 2017 rookie season. Mahle is long past due to toss a gem against St. Louis.

No team has beaten 39-year-old Adam Wainwright as many times as the Reds. His 13 losses at the hands of the Redlegs equals the number of setbacks he’s endured when facing another NL Central rival, the Chicago Cubs. Additionally, his 5.12 career ERA versus the Reds is his highest against any opponent he’s faced more than twice.

Sunday’s series finale will feature Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals against Cincinnati newcomer Jeff Hoffman. The 28-year-old right-hander was acquired in a November trade from the Colorado Rockies. A former first-round selection of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2014 MLB Draft, Hoffman will be making his GABP debut.

St. Louis veteran Carlos Martinez can hope for a better season in 2021 than what he put together in 2020. Last year in five starts, Martinez failed to earn a victory as he allowed 32 hits and 26 runs in just 20 innings of work. Ouch! A former two-time All-Star, the Cardinals would love nothing more than the right-hander to return to his previous glory.