The Cincinnati Reds try to bounce back from a rough outing when they take on the host St. Louis Cardinals in the first of a four-game series between National League Central rivals on Thursday night. The first pitch for this contest is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Cincinnati dropped its last game by a 17-3 score to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. The loss dropped the Reds to 24-29, and they enter Thursday’s action in fourth place in the NL Central, four games behind the third-place Milwaukee Brewers and 4½ games ahead of the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates.
St. Louis also had an ugly outing in its last game, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers 14-3 on Wednesday. The Cardinals are 31-25 and in second place in the NL Central, 1½ games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs and 1½ games ahead of the third-place Brewers.
The MLB odds for this contest have the Cardinals with a moneyline of -147, while the Reds are at +132. The over/under for the game is set at 8½ runs.
The last time the Reds played in St. Louis in late April, they were swept in a three-game series. Now they come in hoping to get closer to the division lead in a competitive NL Central.
Right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez will be on the mound for the series opener, bringing an 0-1 record and 1.80 ERA. The 25-year-old is making his second major league start after allowing one run in five innings to the Cubs to take a loss on Friday.
Gutierrez received an 80-game suspension last June after testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance, taking away his 2020 campaign and delaying his debut this season.
The Reds feature the top two players in baseball in terms of batting average, with Nick Castellanos hitting .361 and Jesse Winker batting .341. Castellanos comes in with an 18-game hit streak, leading the Reds with 69 hits, including 16 doubles, a triple and 12 home runs while driving in 31 runs.
Winker has a team-best 13 home runs along with 29 RBIs. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez has 12 home runs and 26 RBIs while outfielder Tyler Naquin has 11 home runs and leads the team with 37 RBIs.
The St. Louis Cardinals just dropped two of three to the Dodgers, including the blowout loss on Wednesday. But manager Mike Shildt was focusing on the fact that his team went 5-5 on its road trip, which includes series against the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks .
“I don’t like to put limits on anything — you’d like to go 10-0,” Shildt said after Wednesday’s loss. “But .500 on the road on a West Coast trip that’s 10 days. We always want more, but we can live with playing .500 on the road on that kind of trip, for sure.”
Veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright will be on the mound for the team’s return to St. Louis on Thursday, making his 11th start. The 39-year-old is 3-4 with a 4.22 ERA, striking out 57 and walking 19 in 59.2 innings.
Wainwright picked up a win in his last start, going five innings and allowing four runs on five hits, including a home run, in a 7-4 victory against Arizona. That came after he pitched eight innings of shutout ball against the Cubs on May 23, allowing just one hit but taking a no-decision when the Cardinals fell 2-1 in 10 innings.
Outfielder Tyler O’Neill has been red hot at the plate over the last seven games, going 11-for-28 with three doubles, four home runs, eight RBIs and six runs scored. He comes into this one on a 10-game hit streak, raising his average to .281. The 25-year-old leads the Cardinals with 12 home runs and has driven in 26 runs.
Third baseman Nolan Arenado has a team-best 36 RBIs, hitting 18 doubles and 11 home runs while batting .276. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has 12 doubles and seven home runs, driving in 29 and scoring a team-best 32 times.
Cardinals Take Opener
St. Louis is going to be happy to be home and, with Wainwright on the mound, has an edge in pitching. Gutierrez is still feeling his way around starting again and he could have some trouble against the Cardinals’ deep lineup.
When doing your MLB betting, take St. Louis to get the win at home.