It turns out Eric Lauer can pitch. The Padres lefty went toe to toe last night with one of the National League’s best in Aaron Nola and came away a winner. Lauer threw just eighty-two pitches in a very efficient six innings of work, allowing just one run on only two hits. The game was a tight one until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Phillies imploded, and San Diego posted a seven spot in the frame to blow the game wide open.
Lauer has now given up just one earned run in each of his last four starts and has lowered his ERA from 5.75 to 4.18. For Nola, he was cruising through the first several innings and ended up getting charged with six earned runs as he left runners on base that all ended up coming around to score. The loss is the first of the year for the young hurler. For today’s pick, we will head to St. Louis where the Cardinals host the Reds.
The Cincinnati Reds are in St. Louis Tuesday for game one of a three-game series with the Cardinals. The Reds are coming off of a series loss to the Washington Nationals where they dropped two out of three to wrap up a 3-4 homestand. The Reds are desperately trying to keep their heads above water in the very competitive National League Central Division and entering play today find themselves in last place, six and a half games back of the Milwaukee Brewers.
For the Cardinals, they have won four straight after having an awful May. St. Louis had gone 7-18 in the month before finishing it out on a high note. The Cardinals are three games back in the NL Central and are hoping to stay above .500 in this series.
Starting tonight for the Reds is Luis Castillo (5-1 2.45 ERA), and for the Cardinals, it is Genesis Cabrera (0-1 7.36 ERA) The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. The Reds are small -115 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 PM PST from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The Cardinals had the best record in baseball in April. They got out to a hot start, and it looked like this team would be a real threat to take home the National League pennant. But the Cards have struggled since that hot start, and at this point, are just hoping to ride out this rough patch and stay in contention. St. Louis will have to get things done without the heart and soul of their team, Yadier Molina.
It is hard to qualify exactly what Molina brings to this team as he is the heart of their lineup, as well as one of the best defensive catchers in the league, and he calls as good of a game as any catcher in the majors. He is undoubtedly their most important player and will be missed as he is out two to three weeks with a thumb injury. The Cards would love to have Molina behind the plate tonight to guide rookie starter, Genesis Cabrera.
Cabrera made his first ever big league start in Philly last week and got hammered. He lasted just three and two-thirds of an inning and gave up five runs. The Cardinals lost the game 11-4. It was a not so kind welcome to the show for the twenty-two-year-old. The Cardinals are hoping that Cabrera can take a permanent spot in the rotation as they have sent Michael Wacha to the bullpen as he has been ineffective this season.
The Reds will start Luis Castillo tonight as they look to take the series lead. Castillo has enjoyed a great start to the season as his 2.45 ERA is one of the lowest in the National League and his record is strong at 5-1. He has been a bit shaky in his last two starts though as he got touched up by the Milwaukee Brewers for four runs in two and two thirds of an inning two starts ago and then followed it up by going five and a third and allowing three runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Reds lost both games.
The big question in this one is which Luis Castillo are we going to see tonight? The one that has allowed more than two earned runs in a start just twice in twelve starts? Or the one that has looked shaky in the last two weeks? I think he will be on his game tonight. And even if he isn’t great, Genesis Cabrera has yet to show me he belongs in the big leagues.
I know the Cardinals want Cabrera to be great, and the youngster has lots of upside, but until he shows me that he is a viable big league pitcher, I can’t imagine wanting to back him. The fact that this number is a tight one is a bit surprising as the Cardinals have been really struggling in the last four or five weeks, and without Molina behind the plate, I think those struggles will continue. I expect Castillo to be good, Cabrera to be rough, and the Reds to win this one with relative ease. Give me the Cincinnati Reds as small road favorites tonight in game one, laying -115.