The last time the Cardinals faced the Reds, things were different. The Reds started the season 2-11, and ended up claiming their third win in the last game of the three-game series in late April. Things got worse. Not that the 3-13 start was good, but somehow, things got worse for the Reds. They proceeded to advance in 9 consecutive games. During their first 25 matches, the Cardinals were one of the few matches they won. They also won two matches against the Braves. Baseball is funny sometimes.
Since their 9-game winning streak, I’m sorry to say things have become normal for the Reds. They won three of their next four series and split the other series. Since May 7 – their first win after a 9-game losing streak – they are 17-15. They’ve won series against The Brewers, The Guardians, and The Giants, as well as the Pirates but you’re probably less impressed with that.
Part of that is that their promotions just got better. Tonight’s player Luis Castillo had not made his way to the end of the Reds’ defeat streak. His first game of the season was on May 9. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that he was missing out when they couldn’t win matches. Hunter Greene, starting Saturday, can mostly blame his bad era in games that happened before May 7. Same with Tyler Mahley, who the Cardinals won’t see in the series. Vladimir Gutierrez, the 7.61 ERA owner this season, has started just three starts and is currently on the injured list.
Joey Votto has owned the 200 WRC+ since May 7. Kyle Farmer has 149 wRC+. Operator Brandon Drury has 146 wRC+. Jonathan India has only played 11 games and got a slow start, and behind him, 31-year-old Matt Reynolds, has 114+ shooting matches. Another reason for their success, Tyler Stevenson, hit part of their losing streak, and came back, winning 128 WRC+ in the year. Unfortunately, he was recently injured and will miss this series and about a month of gameplay is guaranteed.
Friday – 7:10 pm
Luis Castillo (3.55 ERA / 3.36 FIP / 3.22 xFIP) vs. Andre Balant (1.23 ERA / 3.66 FIP / 4.04 xFIP)
It doesn’t really look like Pallante’s success is sustainable, or at least not in the way it is currently. Of course he can improve. He is only 23 years old and he has basically passed AAA. The fact that his numbers are what they are is impressive enough. But he has 15.7K% and 11 BB% and relies almost entirely on one of the best football percentages in the league at 63.4%. I hope he either starts hitting the hitters more and starts walking less. Because it’s a fine line when you have a K/BB ratio. I think it will get better.
In the meantime, Castillo appears to be basically the same as before. It’s not at its peak in 2019, but that seems to be more of an anomaly than what might really be expected. He gets the balls up, hits a fair share of hitters and manages to dodge enough walks to be successful. That formula is working with him again this year, despite him getting a few fewer balls than usual.
Optional: Cardinals (I’m attending so they better win!)
Saturday – 1:10 pm
Hunter Green (5.40 ERA / 5.44 FIP / 3.92 xFIP) vs Adam Wainwright (2.73 ERA / 3.67 FIP / 4.08 xFIP)
Talk about opposites. You have a 40-year-old grinder shooting the fastball at less than 90 mph, and on the other extreme you have a high probability of shooting at 22 with an average of 99 mph. He throws the fastball on average at about 10 mph more than Wainwright does, and he’s savage. Wainwright and Molina will tie for second with 316 starts as a battery, and are nine times short of breaking the record.
I’m not saying you should ignore his stats, but Greene since May 7 – a random endpoint, but with a small pitcher learning to tune and not an irrelevant endpoint – Greene has a 3.41 ERA and 3.67 FIP. So it might be fine. It can be subject to explosion. In the six starts in this run, he allowed 5 runs in 5 innings and 4 runs at 3.2 IP. He has thrown no less than 6 innings in three of his other starts with two runs earned together. So it depends on which version we see.
My pick: reds
Sunday – 1:10 pm
Graham Ashcroft (1.14 ERA / 3.36 FIP / 3.72 xFIP) vs. Dakota Hudson (2.76 ERA / 4.25 FIP / 4.59 xFIP)
Ignoring whether or not Hudson’s stats are sustainable in the long term, I prefer the late-to-first-ten Hudson release. While the results-based analysis was good, watching Hudson was intimidating. Slow, walk more, slow, walk more, even slower. The Cardinals obviously worked on it to speed up play, and that was not only better for watching, but got off to a great start. 7 IP, 6 Ks, one BB, one got run. More of that please!
Ashcroft came into the season as Reds prospect #17 according to Fangraphs who had a 5.02 FIP drop by Fangraphs. He started 7 times in AAA, had a 1.65 ERA / 3.37 FIP / 3.94 xFIP. He’s only 24 and he’s climbed through the Reds system very quickly – he got into the Junior League in 2019, then moved up to the First Division and only lasted 8 times before being promoted to AA – and he could really do well. So the cards may get three good novice players from this bad team.
My choices: Cardinals
This sounds more like a hacker chain than you think. The Reds have played like an above average team in the past month+ of matches and they have three very good players against the Cardinals. I don’t know I wouldn’t assume an easy streak or an automatic win in the 2-1 streak. I would expect that because it was foolish to bet on Hudson at this point.
Single game prediction record: 15-14
Sequential prediction record: 4-4