Reds vs. Cardinals Odds
|Over/Under||8.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||8:15 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday morning and via FanDuel.|
Cincinnati heads on the road to kick off a four-game series against its division rival in St. Louis.
The Reds have been slugging the ball all over the yard this season, but their starting pitching and bullpen has allowed opponents to do precisely the same. Cincinnati sits five games below .500 and seven games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs in the National League Central. If the Reds are going to make a run and sneak into the MLB Playoffs, they need to start that run right now.
Opposing the Reds are the St. Louis Cardinals, who ceded 11 runs in the first inning against the Dodgers last night. However, the Cardinals are still in the middle of a fantastic season, sitting six games above .500 and one and a half games back of the Cubs for first place. On Thursday, St. Louis hopes that 39-year old veteran Adam Wainwright will keep his solid season going against a powerful Reds lineup.
The Reds lineup has been mashing the ball this season. Cincinnati’s offense ranks sixth in MLB with a .326 wOBA and 104 wRC+. The Reds have achieved the majority of their success against right-handed pitching: They boast the second-best batting average in baseball (.254) and have hit a whopping 62 home runs (first in MLB) off of righties.
Cincinnati will have a fantastic matchup against Adam Wainwright, who mainly utilizes a curveball, sinker, and cutter — three pitches against which the Reds lineup has been very successful. The Reds rank 11th against curveballs, 3rd against cutters, and feature five batters in their lineup with a wOBA over .380 against sinkers.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals lineup has performed around league-average, posting a .303 wOBA and 94 wRC+. Most of their struggles have come against right-handed pitching, too: St. Louis reports the third-lowest walk rate and a mediocre 88 wRC+(23rd in MLB) against righties.
However, the Cardinals been very successful versus one pitch in particular: The changeup. St. Louis ranks third in MLB with 8.0 weighted changeups runs, per Fangraphs. That is Guiterrez’s go-to secondary pitch, so the Redbirds’ offense might be able to have some success tonight.
Starting Pitching Matchup
Vladimir Gutierrez vs. Adam Wainwright
2021 Stats (via Fangraphs)
Reds Starting Pitcher: Vladimir Gutierrez (RHP)
Gutierrez was an international signing out of Cuba for the Reds; and quite frankly, I don’t know what he’s doing in the big leagues right now.
During his previous three seasons in the minors, he never posted an ERA under 4.00 and never held opposing hitters under a .240 season average. Gutierrez also had a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance in June 2020.
I guess the Reds are hopeful that Gutierrez’s stuff will show up in the big leagues. He starts with a fastball that sits in the low 90s but has the ability to touch 97 mph. Gutierrez also has a hard-breaking curveball, plus a changeup with decent movement. Each of his off-speed pitches can be above-average at times.
So, it will be interesting to see if the Cardinals are able to take advantage of the 25-year old right hander.
Cardinals Starting Pitcher: Adam Wainwright (RHP)
2021 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Adam Wainwright is getting up there in age, but even at 39 years old, his curveball is still fooling opposing hitters. He goes to it more often than any other pitch (33.3% usage), and it has been his most effective pitch, allowing a .241 wOBA to opponents and generating a whiff rate that exceeds 30%.
Wainwright’s biggest problems have come with his cutter and fastball, against both of which opponents are have produced a wOBA higher than .350. That is not going to fly against the Reds lineup, because those are the two pitches they’ve consistently crushed in 2021.
Bullpen & Defensive Matchup
The later innings may be a complete mess, because the Reds and Cardinals have two of the worst bullpens in baseball. Both are in the bottom three of MLB in xFIP, and combined both bullpens have two of the three highest BB/9 rates in baseball.
If Gutierrez and Wainwright aren’t able to last long, this game could get out of hand.
Even though I am not high on Gutierrez, I still think the Cardinals are overvalued in this spot. St. Louis has been terrible offensively against right-handed pitching, and the Reds lineup has a great matchup against Wainwright’s pitch mix. So, I think there is some value on the Reds at +134 (FanDuel).
Pick: Reds +134 (up to +140).