The third place Cincinnati Reds sit 3 full games ahead of the last place St. Louis Cardinals within the National League’s Central Division. I just thought I’d point that out to begin things here.
Fresh off a series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cincinnati Reds are riding high into St. Louis for a mid-week series against their longtime division rivals - rivals, I’ll add, who are having a mess of a time getting things together this season. I say that fully well acknowledging that their +1 run differential is miles better than the -36 mark hoisted by the Reds so far this season, but when you get a chance to dunk on the St. Louis Cardinals, well...
The Cardinals will send out lefty Jordan Montgomery this evening, giving the Reds another chance to feast on what they typically feast when said lefty is anyone other than Clayton Kershaw. Even after the Hall of Famer shut them down yesterday, the Reds own a team 101 wRC+ against LHP, and that’s with Elly De La Cruz just beginning to get things going.
The Reds, meanwhile, will turn again to Ben Lively, who’s been an unlikely stabilizing force in a turbulent rotation mix. Speaking of that, the Reds placed Graham Ashcraft on the IL today after he took a comebacker both off his calf and up his ERA’s patooskie yesterday, while also recalling both Joel Kuhnel and Ricky Karcher (Eduardo Salazar was optioned to make way). Lively, therefore, will be once again tasked with eating innings and keeping the greener and greener bullpen from needing to get big outs, something he’s provided for the club that originally drafted him a decade ago more often than not.
Kevin Newman is once again leading off. Kevin Newman.
First pitch tonight is set for 8:15 PM ET because the Central Time Zone is dumb.
Sorry, sorry...that’s me dunking on the Cardinals again. Here’s the Reds lineup: