The Cincinnati Reds couldn’t pull off the sweep of the Dodgers yesterday, but now at 29-34 after winning that series, they are three games ahead of their NL Central rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals were able to salvage one game against the Rangers on Wednesday and are 26-37.
The NL Central is still wide open and either team could start leapfrogging the rest of the division if they get hot in this series. This could be the first time of many that we get to see Jordan Walker and Elly De La Cruz go head-to-head, so this series has a lot of intrigue for two teams under .500.
Game 1 features Ben Lively for the Reds and Jordan Montgomery for the Cardinals. Lively is 3-3 with a 3.03 ERA in six games this year while Montgomery is 2-7 with a 4.23 ERA. The Redbirds are big favorites at home against the Reds.
Reds vs. Cardinals odds, run line and total
Reds vs. Cardinals prediction and pick
Jordan Montgomery had some bad luck in his last start when allowed four runs, but only one was earned. A big inning began with a Nolan Arenado error and spiraled from there. Montgomery pitched well though and has a 3.95 FIP which indicates some success coming his way soon. It might come today against the Reds.
Cincinnati is solid against lefties on the season, but in their series finale with the Dodgers they got blanked by Clayton Kershaw and lost 6-0. De La Cruz still had one hit in the game, but struck out three times and the rest of the Cincinnati lineup outside of Kevin Newman, Matt McLain, and De La Cruz really struggled. I expect them to have a hard time against Montgomery today too. The Reds have struck out the ninth most times against lefties this year in the 13th most at-bats.
Cincy is also a big underdog because of their starting pitcher. Lively has a 3.03 ERA, but the most he pitches the more he’s been getting exposed. He hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2019 before getting the nod in May from the Reds. His FIP is 4.33 and I think he’ll struggle again after allowing five runs over seven innings last time out.
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