Probable starting pitchers
The Cincinnati Reds played well enough to sweep the New York Yankees over the weekend. But things didn't fo their way, and instead, the Reds were on the wrong side of the series sweep and lost three straight to the Bronx Bombers.
The Reds will look to rookie hurler Brandon Williamson to stop the bleeding. The left-hander was terrific in his MLB debut against the Colorado Rockies last week. Will that performance carry over to Monday night's home debut?
The St. Louis Cardinals will counter with left-hander Jordan Montgomery. The southpaw is 2-6 on the season and has gone at least five innings in his last three starts. David Bell is sure to sent mostly right-handed bats into the box on Monday night.
Cincinnati Reds starting lineup
As it turns out, David Bell will send all right-handed bats onto the field on Monday night. Jonathan India will be back at second base and be followed in the lineup by his double-play partner, shortstop Matt McLain. Spencer Steer will be in the No. 3 hole this evening and Tyler Stephenson is back in the lineup as the team's DH.
Nick Senzel will bat fifth and man the hot corner, while Stuart Fairchild draws the start in the outfield versus the southpaw. Wil Myers is batting seventh tonight and will be flanked to his right by centerfielder Jose Barrero. The Brandon Williamson-Curt Casali connection worked in Denver, so the veteran backstop will be hanging the signs tonight as well.
Which Cincinnati Reds player needs to bounce back in tonight's game?
This drum has been beaten to death, but there's no reason to let up now. The Cincinnati Reds need a better performance from Tyler Stephenson. The Reds QB1 got a day off on Sunday and will be the designated hitter for tonight's series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Whether he just draws a pair of walks, hits a looping single into center field, reaches on a fielding error, or laces a double into the gap, the Reds need Stephenson to find a way to get on base. Stephenson is 5-for-28 in his last seven games, and Cincinnati needs the backstop to play up to his potential.
Which Cincinnati Reds player will be the X-factor in tonight's game?
The X-factor for tonight's game is Brandon Williamson. The lefty had a successful debut in Colorado, and while Coors Field is a difficult place to pitch, the Rockies are not a great lineup. The same cannot be said of the St. Louis Cardinals.
One could argue that the Cards are the hottest team in the majors right now. St. Louis has leapfrogged both the Reds and Chicago Cubs and are now in third place in the NL Central. The Cardinals have won 8 of their last 10 and are +18 in run differential despite having a losing record.