The red-hot St. Louis Cardinals have won four in a row and 10 of their last 12 to remain within striking distance of first place in the National League Central. The Cardinals look to continue their ascent and claim a series victory on Wednesday at the expense of the visiting Cincinnati Reds, who have long since stopped entertaining postseason aspirations.
Paul DeJong homered to highlight his three-hit performance in Tuesday’s 13-4 rout to improve to 8-for-16 in his last four games overall and 14-for-36 versus Cincinnati this season. Yadier Molina recorded his third straight multi-hit effort and has two homers and 10 RBIs in that stretch for St. Louis, which resides two games behind division-leading Chicago and 3 1/2 back of Colorado for the second wild card. The reeling Reds are heading in the opposite direction with losses in four of five overall and 47 of 73 road contests this season to remain in the cellar of the division. Zack Cozart homered for the second consecutive outing on Tuesday and is 13-for-45 against the Cardinals this season.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Tyler Mahle (0-2, 3.60 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Jack Flaherty (0-0, 6.00)
Mahle struggled from the onset of his last start on Thursday, allowing four walks for the second time in three outings in a no-decision at the New York Mets. The 22-year-old tossed 39 strikes among his 72 pitches, with manager Bryan Price telling reporters that he knew Mahle was in for a battle and decided to pull him since he had yet to pitch deep into a game this season. “I missed some spots in big counts and that’s what hurt me,” Mahle said.
Flaherty has recorded a pair of no-decisions since being called up from Triple-A on Sept. 1, with his second start much better than the first. The 21-year-old allowed five runs on eight hits in four innings in his major-league debut at San Francisco before permitting one run on three hits in five frames five days later at San Diego. “I felt more comfortable out there today than I did in my first start up here,” Flaherty said. “In my second go-round, I was able to use all my pitches and get ahead of them a little. I felt I executed better.”
1. St. Louis LF Tommy Pham scored four times in the opener and is 10-for-31 versus Cincinnati this season.
2. Reds 1B Joey Votto, who is 22-for-49 against the Cardinals this season, has hit safely in eight of his last nine games overall.
3. Cincinnati RF Scott Schebler is 15-for-29 with four homers, eight RBIs and 10 runs scored versus St. Louis this season.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 6, Reds 1