Let’s do it again! The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals enjoyed playing two games in one day so much that they decided to do exactly that same thing today. At least the Cardinals liked it, anyway.

Starting Pitchers (Game 2)

Reds – Luis Castillo (13-5, 3.21 ERA)

La Piedra has struggled against the Cardinals, this year. He has allowed 10 earned runs in 16.1 innings as well as five home runs. Those are the most he’s allowed to any opponent. Much of that came in the most recent run-in with the team from St. Louis as they piled on eight earned runs on nine hits. Dexter Fowler, Paul DeJong, and Paul Goldschmidt all went yard off Castillo in their last meeting.

What’s interesting is Castillo’s early success in Busch Stadium. In 22.2 innings he has 42 strikeouts against the Cardinals while only seeing six runs cross the plate. As per his MO, Castillo has allowed 10 walks to the Cardinals in Busch Stadium.

Overall, though, Castillo’s year has been a successful one. He’s amassed a 4.0 bWAR thanks to a career-best 3.70 FIP and 10.7 K/9. He is the ace of this staff, if not ace 1-A.

Cardinals – Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-1, 3.76)

Decidedly not a 16th century conquistador, Ponce de Leon made his major league debut against the Reds on July 23, 2018, to the tune of seven shutout innings. His next start against the Redlegs came September 1, 2018, with the good guys notching three runs on the rookie. He has not faced the Reds since then.

Ponce de Leon has pitched 23.2 innings at home with some varying results. He has racked up 23 strikeouts in those innings but has also allowed 11 earned runs on 18 hits and 10 walks. The Cardinals ninth-round pick of the 2014 MLB Draft came in at No. 29 on the team’s Top-30 2018 prospect list, according to MLB Pipeline. Per Fangraphs, he has an average fastball and an average cutter with a slightly above average curve.

Starting Lineups

Cincinnati Reds

  1. Nick Senzel – CF
  2. Joey Votto – 1B
  3. Eugenio Suarez – 3B
  4. Josh VanMeter – LF
  5. Freddy Galvis – 2B
  6. Jose Iglesias – SS
  7. Curt Casali – C
  8. Phillip Ervin – RF
  9. Luis Castillo – P

St. Louis Cardinals

  1. Dexter Fowler – RF
  2. Kolten Wong – 2B
  3. Paul DeJong – SS
  4. Tyler O’Neill – LF
  5. Matt Carpenter – 3B
  6. Rangel Ravelo – 1B
  7. Harrison Bader – CF
  8. Andrew Knizner – C
  9. Daniel Ponce de Leon – P

Worth Noting

The Reds have just 26 games left to play in 2019. After having such a roller coaster ride through the first 136, they still have a few things to shoot for.

If they shock everyone and win all 26 games, they will get to 89 and just miss their first 90-win season since 2013. Likewise, if they are just as shocking and lose all 26 then they will finish with 99 losses. The good news is, it is mathematically impossible to lose 100 games now. If they want to simply avoid the 90-loss threshold, they need only go 10-16 the rest of the way. That will also give them the most wins the franchise has had in a season since 2014 (76).

Of course, they can make it to that .500-mark we’ve been hoping for since the offseason by finishing out the year 18-8. 

The Reds made some roster moves to get their September call ups going.

Reds recall Alex Blandino, four pitchers

From earlier…

Starting Pitchers (Game 1)

Reds – Tyler Mahle (2-10, 4.93 ERA)

Mahle is making his first start since July 19 after being placed on the injured list with a tweaked left hamstring. His thought-to-be short absence was elongated by the fact his hamstring just remained tight for awhile. He tossed three rehab outings in Louisville with some varied results (nine innings, four earned runs, 13 strikeouts) and is ready to return to the big leagues.

What his role after this doubleheader will be is something of a mystery. The Reds have gotten some not-so-great production out of Alex Wood and Mahle seems poised to be a future rotation arm. That being said, the Reds may want to see what they have in Wood, if anything, and decide to keep Mahle in the bullpen for the rest of 2019.

Mahle definitely has an axe to grind with the Cardinals. In two starts he has pitched 10.1 innings and allowed nine earned runs. St. Louis has amassed 14 hits and four walks while Mahle has managed to strikeout seven.

Cardinals – Miles Mikolas (8-13, 4.32)

Mikolas has been something of an enigma. In 2018 he was an All Star, he finished sixth in Cy Young voting, and kept his FIP at a tidy 3.28. This year he has an ever so slightly improved strikeout rate (6.9 K/9) but has also allowed home runs at an increased rate (1.3 HR/9 compared to 0.7). Some of that may point to luck, but his FIP for 2019 is almost a run higher at 4.19.

He’s also not liked his encounters with the Reds. There is no team he has allowed to score more runs (15 ER), hit more dingers (seven), or issued free passes to (six). In his last outing against the Redlegs (August 17) he allowed five earned runs on seven hits in five innings. Nick Senzel and Aristides Aquino took him yard.

Starting Lineups

Cincinnati Reds

  1. Josh VanMeter – LF
  2. Joey Votto – 1B
  3. Eugenio Suarez – 3B
  4. Aristides Aquino – RF
  5. Tucker Barnhart – C
  6. Freddy Galvis – 2B
  7. Nick Senzel – CF
  8. Jose Iglesias – SS
  9. Tyler Mahle – P

St. Louis Cardinals

  1. Tommy Edman – 2B
  2. Matt Carpenter – 3B
  3. Paul Goldschmidt – 1B
  4. Marcell Ozuna – LF
  5. Jose Martinez – RF
  6. Yadier Molina – C
  7. Harrison Bader – CF
  8. Yairo Muñoz – SS
  9. Miles Mikolas – SP