St. Louis Cardinals: Next six games are crucial wins

michaeldavidmiles
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 04: Matt Carpenter #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts in the dugout with Marcell Ozuna #23 after hitting a solo home run in ninth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on August 4, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 04: Matt Carpenter #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts in the dugout with Marcell Ozuna #23 after hitting a solo home run in ninth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on August 4, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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St. Louis Cardinals
CINCINNATI, OH – MAY 23: Interim Manager Jim Riggleman #35 of the Cincinnati Reds takes the ball as starting pitcher Homer Bailey #34 of the Cincinnati Reds is replaced in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on May 23, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pittsburgh defeated Cincinnati 5-4 in 12 innings. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Cardinals have turned their season around and have won each series under interim manager Mike Shildt. The winning ways must continue throughout these next six games.

The St. Louis Cardinals are slated to face the following pitchers in the Reds series: Homer Bailey, Robert Stephenson (likely, is listed as TBD), and Luis Castillo (likely, is listed as TBD). Let’s take a look at each.

Bailey has a 2018 record of 1-12 with a 6.17 ERA. In his last start he took the loss over five innings of 8-hit, 3-earned-run baseball. In this start against the Cubs, Bailey struck out two batters and walked none. The newly-revamped Cardinals (who are playing better baseball than the Cubs IMO) should dominate Bailey.

The last time Bailey faced the Cardinals was on July 24 in which he allowed 2 earned runs on 5 hits across 6.2 innings. In those qualifying innings, Bailey threw 115 pitches. Look for the Cardinals to show patience and work his pitch count once again.

Bailey is likely to face-off against rookie phenom John Gant or Austin Gomber. I predict that the St. Louis Cardinals will take the victory in this game if all norms continue.

Stephenson has a 2018 record of 0-2 with a 9.26 ERA. In his last start (not his last appearance; he last appeared out of the pen facing the Cubs) he took a loss through five innings of 9-hit, 4-earned-run baseball. In this start against the Brewers, Stephenson struck out four batters and walked three.

Stephenson has never faced the Cardinals. In the past, the Cardinals have struggled against pitchers they have never seen. While some of these behaviors have perpetuated, the new hitting coaches of Mark Budaska and George Greer are likely to have plenty of video to help the Cards face Stephenson.

Stephenson is likely to face-off against the either Gant or Gomber depending on who pitches the first game of the Reds series. I look with caution to this game. I worry that silent bats will reappear since the Cardinals are facing a new-to-them pitcher.

Once the Reds formally announce who will pitch this game, I will feel more comfortable making a prediction.

Castillo has a 2018 record of 7-11 with a 5.07 ERA. In his last start he took a loss through 3.1 innings of 5-hit, 5-earned-run baseball. In this start against the Cubs, Castillo struck out two batters and walked one.

The last time Castillo faced the Cardinals was back on July 23 in which he allowed 1 earned run on 4 hits across 5.1 innings. In those five-plus innings, Castillo threw 85 pitches. He was awarded a no-decision as the Reds walked-off the Cards.

Castillo may likely face-off against a returning Adam Wainwright. Waino is currently rehabbing but looks about ready to return. Castillo and the Reds could well be a good team to test Wainwright’s readiness for a return to starting.

Regardless of who takes the mound for the Cardinals, I look for them to win this game unless they fall prey to another Reds walk-off.

In conclusion, I look for the Cardinals to take at the very least 2-of-3 from the Reds this series. In truth, though, the Reds should be a team that the St. Louis Cardinals sweep and this could well be the outcome of this series as well.

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