The good news is that the Cardinals have yet to win a series against the Reds since Tony LaRussa was hired by the Diamondbacks as their Chief Baseball Officer. The bad news is that since that date, the Reds and the Cards have yet to complete a series. That will change this evening in the rubber game at Great American Ballpark.
The Reds hope to rebound from last night with Mike Leake on the mound. In spite of a 2-3 record (#ThanksObullpen #Thanks Obats), Leake has maintained a 2.91 ERA. While his strikeout rate has dropped a bit this year (down to 5.3 from a career of 5.9), he has also reduced his walk rate and hits per nine innings creating a cool WHIP of 1.015.
If there's one player today that Leake may want to avoid pitching to, it is perhaps Matt Holliday. In 27 appearances, Holliday is sporting a .423 average and is OPSing at a 1.098 clip against Leake. This figure is even more disturbing when you discover that Leake has only walked Holliday in only 1 of these 27 plate appearances. Pro-tip: do not pitch to Holliday if you're Mike Leake. Similarly, Jon Jay has performed well agasinst Leake. The Federalist has an OBP of .348 in 23 plate appearances.
The Cardinals will counter Leake with Adam Wainwright. Unsurprisingly, Adam Wainwright's numbers this year rank among the top in the National League. Wainwright's ERA is a Cuetoian 1.85 and his WHIP is a borderline absurd 0.863.It may come to a surprise, however, that several Reds have hit Wainwright well over their careers. In 34 career appearances, Bruce has an OPS of 1.075 while Todd Frazier has one of 1.040 in 21 appearances. Meanwhile, Brandon Phillips has a very un-BP OBP of .347 in his 51 career appearances.
The Cardinals came into this series following a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and their previous skipper and are starting to play their assumed role of most feared team in the NL Central. However, over the past two nights, the Reds have shown that they can hang with, if not outright defeat them under the present circumstances. Hopefully, the Reds can exorcise their prime time demons (again) and send the whiny birds home with a bad taste in their mouths for Memorial Day. Why? Because the Reds are my favorite team.