Game: St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds
Time: 6:40 p.m. ET
Starting Pitchers: Jon Lester vs. Luis Castillo
Odds: Cardinals +165, Reds -175
The Reds dropped two costly games to Miami over the weekend but still maintain a lead over San Diego for the National League’s second wild-card spot. Today, Cincinnati will host St. Louis, which is also still in the hunt for an NL wild card. The Cardinals will likely have a tough time with the Reds. They have all season long as their 5-8 record against them this season will attest.
Both teams have had their own struggles recently. St. Louis looked good in two wins over Pittsburgh over the weekend but wound up splitting the series with the NL Central’s last-place team. As good as the Cards were in the two wins over the Pirates, they were equally as bad in the two losses.
Cincy swept four games from Miami, the last-place team in the NL East, last weekend then managed to drop two of three to the Marlins this past weekend. Despite losing their last two games, the Reds are favored to win today thanks, in large part, to the Cardinals starting pitcher – Jon Lester.
Lester is far from the pitcher he was even just five years ago and the 2021 season has gone from bad to worse for the veteran left-hander. Before being traded to St. Louis, Lester’s ERA in Washington was 5.02. In St. Louis, that number has spiked to 6.04. Somehow, the Cardinals have won each of Lester’s last three starts, but it is hard to be confident in a pitcher who has been more lucky than good lately.
The Reds will counter with Luis Castillo, who has had his share of ups and downs this season. Castillo had a tough first half of the season and was on his way to a much better second half before he gave up eight runs in 3.1 innings to Milwaukee a couple of starts back.
Castillo is 7-13 overall with a 4.29 ERA and his last three starts have been respectable. He gave up six earned runs in 20 innings and struck out 21 hitters. Cincy has lost three of Castillo’s last four starts.
The Reds are one of the better hitting and scoring teams in the majors. They are seventh in MLB in scoring averaging 4.86 runs per game. Over the weekend, they managed just two runs combined on Saturday and Sunday. The Under has actually hit in five straight Reds games, which is uncommon given the fact that Cincinnati games go Over 53.2 percent of the time.
The Over is 36-28-1 at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati where the Reds have been known to put up some big totals. St. Louis trends toward the Under at home (35-25-5), but the Over is 32-30-3 in Cardinals away games. Tonight’s total is set at 9.5, the highest total for a Reds game in their past 10 games. The Cardinals haven’t seen a total that high since mid-August.