Kyle Farmer and the Reds look to avoid the blues in St. Louis with 5 games in 4 days

Cincinnati Reds third baseman Kyle Farmer.
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Kyle Farmer. / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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It's not going to get any easier, Reds Country. In fact, the challenge is going to be significantly more difficult as the Redlegs look to rebound after inexplicably being swept at home during a four-game set with the dreadful Pittsburgh Pirates.

As a result, the Cincinnati Reds (56-86), losers of six in a row, sit just 1.5 games out of the cellar in the National League Central. On the opposite end of the division spectrum are the St. Louis Cardinals (84-59) who are pulling away in the NL Central and are nearing their second division crown in the last four seasons.

Since the All-Star break, the Redbirds are a scorching 35-14 and have turned a one-game deficit at the Midsummer Classic into a comfortable eight-game cushion as we enter the middle of September. A key component to their second-half surge has been an explosive offense.

The Reds play 5 games in 4 days vs. a dangerous Cardinals team.

Entering play yesterday, the Cardinals' 116 team OPS+ ranked No. 1 among all senior clubs. Additionally, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is a strong candidate to capture his first MVP award. The seven-time All-Star has belted 35 homers with 109 RBIs as play began Wednesday. He also leads the NL in OBP, slugging, OPS, OPS +, and total bases.

However, Goldy is not the only one inflicting damage at the plate. Third baseman Nolan Arenado is slashing .298/.360/.553 with 29 dingers and 96 ribbies. In addition, 42-year-old, Albert Pujols seems to have located a fountain of youth. The future Hall of Famer has launched 18 round-trippers in 259 at-bats and is just three homers away from becoming the fourth player to cross the 700 home run threshold.

Cincinnati has dropped nine of the 14 contests between the two clubs this season, including four of five at Busch Stadium. One St. Louis win this weekend will clinch their 10th season series victory over the Reds in their last 11 attempts.

Previewing the pitching matchup: Reds vs. Cardinals

Cincinnati Reds starter Chase Anderson vs. St. Louis Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas

Chase Anderson (0-3 9.00 ERA) gets the nod in tonight's opener opposing Miles Mikolas (11-11 3.42 ERA) of the Cardinals. Despite the short outings in his three starts, Anderson is showing signs of progress in his last two appearances.

The Cincinnati right-hander has only allowed one hit in his last 6.2 innings while compiling nine punch outs. That's the good news. The bad news is that Anderson has also issued seven free passes over those frames.

If there's one pitcher capable of changing the Reds' recent string of back luck, it's Miles Mikolas. Cincinnati has torched the St. Louis right-hander for 10 runs and 13 hits in their last two meetings. Second baseman Jonathan India is 4-for-11 in his battles with Mikolas, including two round-trippers.

Cincinnati Reds starter Justin Dunn vs. St. Louis Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty

Friday night finds Justin Dunn (1-3 6.10 ERA) toeing the rubber while Jack Flaherty (0-1 4.50 ERA) takes the mound for Oliver Marmol's club. If there's one thing manager David Bell needs from his starters this weekend, it's innings. Unfortunately, brief outings have been the norm for Dunn.

Only once in his seven starts this season has the Cincinnati right-hander completed six innings. Keeping the base paths clean has been a challenge for Dunn. In 31 frames this year, he's allowed a whopping 49 runners to reach base via a hit or base on balls.

When Jack Flaherty faces the Reds, it typically results in a long night for the Redlegs at the plate. In four of his last five starts versus Cincinnati, the St. Louis right-hander has yielded one run or less. The Reds are seeking their first victory against the Los Angeles native since the 2018 campaign.

According to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Hunter Greene will return from the IL to start one of the two games for Saturday's day-night split doubleheader. Mike Minor will also get the ball for one of the two games on Saturday.

Cincinnati Reds starter Luis Cessa vs. St. Louis Cardinals starter Jordan Montgomery

Sunday's matinee series finale will feature reliever turned starter Luis Cessa (3-3 5.25 ERA) facing the Cardinals' trade deadline acquisition, left-hander Jordan Montgomery (8-4 3.20 ERA).

Give the Cincinnati right-hander credit, since entering the starting rotation on August 22nd, Cessa has issued just three free passes in 22.1 innings. Just as impressive are the 21 punch outs recorded over that time.

Southpaw Jordan Montgomery has been nearly unhittable since being acquired in the trade deadline deal that sent outfielder Harrison Bader to the New York Yankees. Making eight starts for the Redbirds, he's 5-1 with a sparkling 2.05 ERA in 48.1 frames.

Kyle Farmer continues to have a solid season for the Reds in 2022.

Despite the Reds' recent struggles, one cannot blame infielder Kyle Farmer for their slide. The Farm Dawg has done everything possible to try and lead the Redlegs to victory.

Over his last seven games, Farmer is slashing .318/.348/.500 with a homer in 22 at-bats. However, it's been much more than a good week for the veteran. Farmer has produced a solid .294/.323/.462 slash line with five homers in his last 30 contests.

Naturally, the right-handed hitting University of Georgia alum has feasted on southpaws. In 126 at-bats versus lefties, Farmer is hitting .310 with seven of his 11 homers coming against left-handers. Jordan Montgomery, you've been warned.

And don't let anyone tell you the Kyle Farmer is not clutch. The former eighth-round selection of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2013 MLB Draft has compiled a .320 mark with runners in scoring position while driving 56 home.

Prediction: Reds avoid being swept, but...

At his point in the season, the only thing the Reds have to play for is winning at least 63 games to avoid a 100-loss season. To get to 63, the Redlegs will have to go 7-13 over their last 20 contests.

Unfortunately, Cincinnati is not going to get much closer to that 63-win number as they drop four of five to the Cardinals over the weekend before returning home on Tuesday night to face the Boston Red Sox in a brief two-game set.

Next. 4 Reds with the most to gain down the stretch in 2022. dark