Reds vs. Cardinals: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

CINCINNATI, OHIO - APRIL 03: Benches clear after Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds slides safely into home base to score on a wild pitch. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - APRIL 03: Benches clear after Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds slides safely into home base to score on a wild pitch. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – MAY 30: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

The Reds return to St. Louis, hoping history doesn’t repeat itself versus Cardinals.

To quote Charles Dickens, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” In the rain abbreviated two-game set against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cincinnati Reds captured a microcosm of their 2021 season.

Somehow the Reds (24-29) managed to be outscored during the two-game series despite clobbering the Phillies 11-1 on Memorial Day. But those things happen when your bullpen allows 13 runs in just four innings of work. Unfortunately, we have to talk about the relief corps for a minute.

Through the first 53 games of the 2021 campaign, the Cincinnati bullpen’s ERA of 5.71 is the worst in the National League, as are the 35 round-trippers they’ve served up. Their 118 free passes are the second-highest total in the senior circuit. All of those issues were on full display Tuesday night.

In the 17-3 drubbing by the Phils, the Reds fireman set Great American Ball Park ablaze by issuing four free passes, five homers, 12 hits, and 13 runs. Granted, some of those numbers are inflated because utility infielder Alex Blandino worked an inning on the mound, but you get the idea.

While the St. Louis Cardinals (31-25) are far from a perfect team, they’ve taken care of business at home, winning 15 of their 25 contests at Busch Stadium. Additionally, the Cards have beaten up on division opponents. The Redbirds are 13-7 versus division foes, including a 4-2 mark against the Reds. When Cincinnati visits the Gateway City, disaster typically ensues.

Over the last decade, the Reds .409 winning percentage against the Cardinals is their worst versus a division rival. The Redbirds swept the first series between the two clubs in St. Louis this season, outscoring the Reds by a 12-6 margin.