After a 5-5 road trip the Cardinals return home to face a team whose season has been less about wins, as it has about giving its younger talent a taste of the major leagues: the Cincinnati Reds. In easily what could be called the first or possibly second year of re-building, the Reds find themselves dead last in the NL Central with a record of 65-90, and trailing the 4th place Brewers by 5 games. The 2nd place Cardinals haven’t had much success against the Reds winning just 8 of the previous 15 meetings between the 2 clubs. In fact St. Louis has outscored Cincinnati by a mere run (77-76) in those 15 games. Since last facing the Redbirds, the Reds have gone 8-11 finishing this weekend by taking 2 of 3 from Milwaukee.
In Monday’s opener Tim Adleman (2-4, 4.06) will square off against Jaime Garcia (10-12, 4.59), who is making his return as a starter after 2 solid relief appearances against Colorado and San Francisco. Adleman faced the Cardinals back on September 4th and allowed 3 runs on just 4 hits, struck out 6 and walked 1. He won’t overpower guys with his fastball, but subtracts quite a bit on the curve and changeup. In his last outing against the Cubs on the 19th he lasted 6 1/3 innings, struck out 5 walked none and surrendered 2 solo home runs for the only runs allowed as the Reds were downed 5-2.
Game 2 will see the Reds #1 pitching prospect Robert Stephenson (2-2, 5.59) face Adam Wainwright (12-9, 4.57). Stephenson began the year as the #3 starter in the Reds rotation, but after a 2-0 start was demoted to AAA-Louisville where he posted an 8-9 record and a 4.41 ERA in 24 starts for the Bats. He had some control issues (1.69 K:BB) but opposing batters hit just .228 against him. Since being recalled Stephenson has an 0-2 record in 4 starts and a 7.41 ERA for the month, striking out 19 and walking 9 in just 17 IP.
On Wednesday, Reds ace by default Anthony DeSclafani (8-5, 3.38) will go against Mike Leake (9-11, 4.72). DeSclafani is arguably one of NL’s biggest surprised this season. A former teammate of recently deceased Jose Fernandez, Desclafani was involved in the 2014 trade that sent Mat Latos to Miami, and DeSclafani has been all the Reds could have hoped for. Both his K/IP and K/BB ratios are up from last season and opponents’ OPS is down from .742 to .726. At 26, DeSclafani has found the control that has made him a success at the Major League level.
Thursday’s series finale pits Dan Straily (14-8, 3.74) versus Alex Reyes (4-1, 1.58). Straily, a bit of a journeyman at age 27, is enjoying a career year setting personal bests in wins, starts, innings, and strikeouts. And despite a career high in innings pitched, he isn’t showing any signs of fatigue. For the month of September, Straily is 4-1 with a 2.87 ERA including earning a victory after issuing 7 free passes and striking out 5.
Aside from Joey Votto here are some other players to watch:
Jose Peraza—Signed by the Braves in 2010, the 22-year old Peraza spent some time briefly in the Dodgers system before being traded to the Reds in December of last year. Peraza can play second, short, center and left, and has been the Reds hottest hitter lately. Over the last 2 weeks Peraza is 17-for-50 (.340) with 1 homer and 2 triples while striking out just 6 times. Peraza had a 6-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday.
Scott Schebler—The Reds Opening Day left fielder was demoted to Louisville mid-season where he earned International League Player of the Month honors in July. Over the weekend in Milwaukee Schebler went 5 for 13 with 2 doubles and homer.
Raisel Iglesias—Originally tabbed to be part of the starting rotation for the Reds, Iglesias has found a home in a struggling bullpen and has been quite effective. Against the Cardinals this season, Iglesias has a win and a save in 3 appearances ( 4IP 0R 3K 1BB while in total for the year, 74 1/3 IP 79K 24BB a 2.18ERA and a .602 OPS against).