Indianapolis Star
Major League Baseball
Preview
Cincinnati at St. Louis
When: 4:10 PM ET, Saturday, July 14, 2018
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

If there was any doubt whether or not the Cincinnati Reds removed the monkey from their back the last time they beat the St. Louis Cardinals, they cleared it up Friday. The Reds set their sights on winning their first series in seven tries against St. Louis on Saturday when they visit the Cardinals for the second contest of their three-game set.

Cincinnati put an end to a 13-game losing streak to its division rival on June 10 with a 6-3 victory over St. Louis, getting plenty of help as Cardinals' pitchers issued 11 free passes in the contest. The Reds let their bats do the talking in Friday's series-opening 9-1 triumph, getting three-hit efforts from Jose Peraza, Jesse Winker and first-time All-Star Eugenio Suarez to complement five strong innings from resurgent starting pitcher Matt Harvey in the rout. The Cardinals scored a season-high 14 runs on 16 hits against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday but have mustered only one run on eight hits in a pair of losses since. Despite Friday's result, St. Louis needs only one more victory over its final eight meetings with Cincinnati to win the season series for the seventh straight year.

TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, FS Ohio (Cincinnati), FS Midwest (St. Louis)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Luis Castillo (5-8, 5.58 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Jack Flaherty (3-4, 3.34)

Castillo hasn't surrendered a home run over his last three starts after giving up 18 over his first 16 outings, but he hasn't factored into the decision in any game over that stretch after allowing three runs in four frames Sunday at the Chicago Cubs. The 25-year-old is winless in his last five road turns and 2-5 with a 6.71 ERA in 11 away games overall. Castillo has enjoyed similar luck in three career starts versus St. Louis, going 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA - including 0-2, 6.55 in two turns this season.

Since posting a 3-2 record with a 2.50 ERA in his first 10 trips to the mound in 2018, Flaherty has struggled over the next three - going 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA. The 2014 first-round pick needed 69 pitches to navigate through 2 1/3 innings Sunday, permitting three runs (two earned) without factoring into the decision at San Francisco. Flaherty made back-to-back starts against Cincinnati last September, giving up five runs over 6 1/3 frames while picking up a loss and a no-decision.

WALK-OFFS

1. Reds 2B Scooter Gennett homered for the third time in 10 July contests in the opener, matching the number he hit in 25 games last month.

2. St. Louis C Yadier Molina celebrated his 36th birthday Friday by starting his 1,800th game behind the plate (including postseason), tying former Cardinal Tony Pena for eighth place on the all-time list.

3. Cincinnati 1B Joey Votto needs to draw one more intentional walk to pass Johnny Bench (135) for the most in team history.

PREDICTION: Reds 7, Cardinals 5
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Cincinnati 42-52 W1 21-26 21-26 7-12 16-27 9-10 10-3
St. Louis 47-45 L2 23-23 24-22 7-12 25-17 8-9 7-7
Last Meeting
Cincinnati St. Louis
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/13/18 CIN 9 STL 1 .350 2 1.022 .129 0 .335
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cincinnati J. Peraza .300 12 .806
St. Louis J. Martinez .395 17 1.294
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cincinnati B. Hamilton 1 7 1
St. Louis J. Martinez 4 7 13
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cincinnati 5.57 .243 86
St. Louis 3.64 .261 94
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cincinnati S. Gennett .326 112 .896
St. Louis J. Martinez .298 94 .845
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cincinnati E. Suarez 19 49 69
St. Louis M. Carpenter 17 55 41
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cincinnati 4.74 .259 723
St. Louis 3.81 .244 760