By my estimation, if the Reds win out the rest of their games, they'll finish with 100 wins on the season. If they are lucky enough to not have the Cardinals not go 38-11 or better and the Cubs don't go better than 41-12 in their remaining games, the Reds will win the division. The easiest way to make sure that happens is by winning every game in this series. That means they must win tonight.. See, one game at a time may be a cliche, but it's right.
Johnny Cueto has been awful lately. In his last 9 starts, his ERA has been a vomit-inducing 8.20 and teams are batting .344/.424/.598 against him. One has to wonder if Cueto isn't hiding an injury of some sort. Nothing sticks out dramatically in his pitch fx charts, but that doesn't necessarily mean nothing has changed since those charts are not adjusted for the common errors in the data. I wouldn't be surprised if he is pitching with a tired arm after having pitched in the DWL and WBC this off-season. Hopefully the Reds will use caution with him lest he start to lose his mechanics and lead himself toward an injury.
Last time the Reds faced Kyle Lohse, he was just about to go on the DL for a month. Since returning from the DL, he hasn't pitched all that well, throwing just under 5 innings a start while posting a 5.82 ERA in 5 losses for the Cardinals. He has pitched much better at home this year than on the road, posting a 2.98 ERA in 8 home starts. This is predominately because he's walked 11 fewer batters in 10 more innings. I imagine it's much easier to throw strikes when you're pitching in a park that suppresses home runs like Busch does.
The Cardinals big mid-season acquisition, Matt Holliday, has been crazy-insane since joining the Redbirds. He's batting .466/.515/.793 since he took his spot in the lineup behind Albert Pujols. And now I'm sure the Greatest Fans on the Plant™ love him so much that he'll be signing a long-term deal any day now. Well, at least Scott Rolen will be watching the game from Cincinnati.