Reds at Cardinals Free Pick for April 18th

Cincinnati Reds +115 @ St. Louis Cardinals -122 (Total: 7.5)

Matt Latos (0-1, 5.59 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (1-0, 4.22 ERA)

The Cards have had the Reds number so far this season, especially in regards to muting their bats.  Last night was another example, dropping them 2-1 in ten innings.  For the Reds, it was their fourth extra inning ballgame in their last five, and their third loss out of those same four.  For St. Louis, it was just another dramatic victory, pushing them to an early three game lead in the NL Central at 8-3.

The Cardinals starter, Jaime Garcia, has also had the Reds number over the past few years.  The lefty has a lifetime 6-1 record in ten appearances against Cincinnati with a 3.38 ERA.  He was battered around in last week’s outing against the Reds however, lasting only 4 1/3 innings and allowing eleven hits.  Aside from that, very little has gone wrong in their previous meetings over the past three seasons.

Cincinnati has been struggling mightily with the bats in the early going.  Despite the return of Brandon Phillips to the lineup, the Reds have still had a hard time scoring runs.  Last night they mustered just one (unearned) and none for the second consecutive meeting against Kyle Lohse.  In their last eight games they have mustered more than three runs only twice (scoring 4 and 8).  There is a good chance they’ll need more than that tonight unless they finally get the shut-down performance from Mat Latos they were hoping for when they made the high-profile trade in the offseason.

In his first two starts, Latos has lasted just 9 2/3 innings, with an ERA of 5.59 and perhaps more alarming, a WHIP of 1.77.  That’s way too many people getting on base and way too few innings pitched for a number two starter, especially one that is needed to anchor an otherwise good, not great pitching staff.

The Cardinals have outscored the Reds 15-7 in four games this season, and three of the runs allowed were unearned.  If they can catch the ball and throw it to the base properly tonight, I like their chances of continuing their good fortune against Cincinnati.  The Cards are the hottest hitting team in all of baseball with a .293 average and have scored the most runs in the NL with 59 (five more than the dominant Dodgers).   That puts a lot of pressure on starter Mat Latos and a tired bullpen tonight.  I like the Cards to get the win.

Free Pick:  St. Louis Cardinals to WIN -122