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Preview: Cardinals (88-54) at Reds (60-81)
Venue: Great American Ball Park
Date: September 13, 2015 1:10 PM EDT
While his teammates try to end their struggles against Cincinnati’s inexperienced staff, St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha will try to deliver another stellar outing against the Reds.
Wacha seeks his fourth win in the season series Sunday while helping the slumping Cardinals protect their diminishing NL Central lead.
St. Louis (88-54) is batting .227 and averaging 2.3 runs during a 2-8 stretch that’s tightened up the division race. The Cardinals have plated just three runs while batting .208 in the first three games in this series despite the Reds (60-81) adding to their MLB record streak of starts by rookie pitchers.
“It’s a good thing it’s the beginning of the month,” pitcher Lance Lynn said. “We’ll see where we are at the end of the month. It’s a good thing the season goes a couple of days into October.”
Anthony DeSclafani’s start in a 5-1 victory Saturday was the 43rd in a row by a Cincinnati rookie. The Reds’ green rotation has a 5.14 ERA since that streak began with a 1-0 win in St. Louis on July 29, but it has a 2.31 ERA in seven games against the Cardinals.
“We have to disrupt a little bit of what’s going on in this (NL Central) race. To have fun around here we have to beat teams going to the playoffs,” said former Cardinals outfielder Skip Schumaker, who homered for the first time in his 113 games this season Saturday.
St. Louis has dropped six of eight to its NL Central rivals but Wacha (15-5, 2.96 ERA) has one of the wins in that span, a 3-0 road victory Aug. 6.
Wacha, who went seven innings in that game, is 3-0 with a 0.89 ERA in as many starts against Cincinnati this season. He’ll seek another while trying to rebound from one of the worst of his career.
While pitching on 10 days rest, Wacha allowed six runs in four innings in an 8-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday after going 4-0 with a 0.92 ERA in his previous six starts.
“Everything felt really good. It was just timing. I couldn’t get it under control. I couldn’t get the ball consistently down in the zone,” Wacha said. “I’ve just got to make better pitches early in the count and get ahead of (batters).”
If Wacha can get back on track, the Cardinals could avoid their first four-game sweep to Cincinnati since May 5-8, 2003.
Raisel Iglesias (3-7, 4.18) will try to deliver that while earning his first win in six starts. The right-hander gave up five runs in three innings Tuesday in a 7-3 loss to Pittsburgh.
Iglesias, who has lost three consecutive decisions, is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts against St. Louis and took a 4-1 loss in the most recent July 27.
Yadier Molina has two doubles in four at-bats against him but is hitting .200 in nine games this month after going 2 for 4 in a suspended game that was completed Saturday, a 4-2 loss.
Brandon Moss is 0 for 21 with 11 strikeouts in his last seven games while Mark Reynolds is 0 for 14 in his past six. Jhonny Peralta is 1 for 16 in his last six.
Joey Votto is 7 for 16 lifetime against Wacha and continues to play while appealing a two-game suspension for his altercation with umpire Bill Welke on Wednesday.