The Reds (26-29) have won the first two games of this crucial four-game series against the division rival Cardinals (31-27), but they can’t let up now. As the saying goes, momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher, and the Reds have arguably their best starting pitcher this season on the mound this afternoon in Tyler Mahle.
- First pitch: 2:15 pm ET
- Location: Busch Stadium
- TV: Bally Sports Ohio
- Radio: 700 WLW or streaming on the IHeartRadio app
Mahle is coming off what was probably his best start of the 2021 season on May 29 at Wrigley Field. The 26-year-old right-hander pitched five innings of one hit, shut out baseball, walking only one while striking out eight. In the start before that in Washington, DC, Mahle pitched shut out baseball in 5.1 innings, allowing only three hits and one walk. He actually pitches much better on the road than he does at Great American Ball Park, with a 1.47 ERA in 36.1 innings compared to an ERA over seven at GABP.
Mahle is having the most success with his split finger. He throws it only about 12 percent of the time and almost always to left-handers, but he has a whiff rate about 36.7% with that pitch. This is up from the 2020 season when his whiff rate was only 22 percent.
St. Louis didn’t announce the starter of today’s game until today. They’ll be turning to rookie Johan Oviedo for his 5th start of the year and his 6th appearance. He last pitched for the Cardinals on May 14th and May 28th and he walked 11 batters with just three strikeouts in 6.1 innings over those two starts. He made one start in between there for Triple-A Memphis and walked just one batter over 5.1 innings on May 21st.
Oviedo has had some success against right-handed hitters this year holding them to a .172 average. But he’s struggled with the walks and righties do have a .359 on-base percentage against him. Left-handed hitters are hitting .273 with a .385 on-base percentage against him and they are also slugging .455. Lefties also have more walks against him than strikeouts this year.
St. Louis Cardinals
|Jonathan India – 2B||Tommy Adman – RF|
|Jesse Winker – LF||Dylan Darlson – CF|
|Nick Castellanos – RF||Paul Goldschmidt – 1B|
|Tyler Naquin – CF||Nolan Arenado – 3B|
|Tucker Barnhart – C||Yadier Molina – C|
|Eugenio Suárez – 3B||Tyler O’Neill – LF|
|Kyle Farmer – SS||Matt Carpenter – 2B|
|Mike Freeman – 1B||Edmundo Sosa – SS|
|Tyler Mahle – SP||Johan Oviedo – SP|
News and Notes
Eugenio is out of the leadoff spot
We’ll have to wait and see if this is more of a permanent situation, but after giving Eugenio Suárez some time in the leadoff spot manager David Bell has placed him back in the 6th spot in the lineup and moved up Jonathan India to take over the leadoff role for the Reds today.
Alex Blandino to the injured list with a broken hand
This morning the Reds placed Alex Blandino on the 10-day injured list with a broken hand. Blandino was hit by a pitch last night by Jake Woodford. In this series the Cardinals pitching staff has now hit seven Cincinnati batters. They lead the free world in hit batters this season. They’ve plunked 47 batters this year. Only the Cubs have topped 35 (they have 40).
Reliever Ashton Goudeau has taken the spot on the 26-man roster for the day. He had been the scheduled starting pitcher tonight for Triple-A Louisville.
Hunter Greene and Tony Santillan with double-digit strikeouts on Friday
Two of the Cincinnati Reds top prospects took the mound last night. Tony Santillan struck out a career high 13 batters in a 7-inning complete game for the Triple-A Louisville Bats. Hunter Greene took the mound in Double-A and picked up 10 more strikeouts as he pushed his league leading total to 51 on the season (in 35 innings) for Chattanooga. Doug Gray has a write up with far more details on both of the hard throwing right handers at RedsMinorLeagues.com.