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Preview: Cardinals (88-52) at Reds (58-81)
Venue: Great American Ball Park
Date: September 12, 2015 1:05 PM EDT
Extra rest didn’t seem to do Lance Lynn any good his last time out, but maybe a bit of a pause will help St. Louis figure out the Cincinnati pitching staff.
The Cardinals and Reds will pick up Friday’s 2-2 game in the top of the eighth inning Saturday before moving on to the third of a four-game set at Great American Ball Park.
Rain suspended the game in the bottom of the eighth with St. Louis’ Pete Kozma on first with no outs and a 2-for-4 Yadier Molina at the plate.
“We’ve got the leadoff runner on, and we’ll see where it goes from there,” manager Mike Matheny said.
Including the suspended game, the Cardinals (88-52) have scored 11 runs with a .189 batting average in their last seven against the Reds (58-81), going 2-4 in those completed. They’re also averaging 2.4 runs in their last nine overall, going 2-6 thus far.
The Cardinals enter four games up on Pittsburgh in the NL Central, and winning both games would get them to 90 wins for the third straight season. They last accomplished that from 2000-02.
Joey Votto played while appealing his two-game suspension for his home-plate tantrum Wednesday. He’s walked three times in the suspended game, bumping his on-base percentage to .571 in 53 games since the All-Star break – 102 points higher than next-best Bryce Harper.
Brandon Phillips is 2 for 4 and batting .375 over his last 14.
In Monday’s 9-0 home loss to the Chicago Cubs, Lynn (11-9, 3.12 ERA) surrendered six runs and seven hits in 2 1-3 innings to bump his ERA over three for the first time in three months. The right-hander, who’s still 53 2-3 innings shy of his career-high 203 2-3 logged last season, hadn’t pitched since Aug. 29.
Control has been a greater concern over his last eight starts with 4.65 walks per nine innings after posting a 2.80 mark through 18 starts.
“I was having trouble getting people out from the get-go,” Lynn told MLB’s official website. “I just didn’t have any command. The ball was all over the place. Early on, I was all over the zone, and when I started making pitches, they were already locked in and I couldn’t do anything about it. I have to be better early on.”
In his last four starts against the Reds, Lynn is 2-2 with a 1.61 ERA and .168 opponent batting average. Jay Bruce, however, is 14 for 28 with three home runs, two triples and a double off Lynn, and Votto is 9 for 18.
Anthony DeSclafani has thrived in limited action against St. Louis, winning both of his starts and posting a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings over three total appearances. DeSclafani (8-10, 3.75 ERA) has Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong hitless in six at-bats each, but Brandon Moss (4 for 9 with a home run) and Randal Grichuk (3 for 5) have had some success.
The 25-year-old has also been good lately, going 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his last three starts. He held Pittsburgh to a run and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings of Monday’s 3-1 win to earn the decision in his second-longest outing this season. He said execution on a secondary pitch made it possible.
“The difference-maker for me these last few games was the curveball,” DeSclafani said. “It’s probably the best it’s been all year these last few games. It’s kind of been the equalizer for me.”
Wong has been out of the lineup for five straight games due to a slight tear in his left calf.