The Red entered their weekend series in St. Louis riding a four-game skid after getting swept at home versus the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this week. As a result, Cincinnati has slid back to second place in the National League Central standings with a 9-9 overall record through 18 games. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are trying to battle their way out of the bottom of the division after winning just eight of their first 18 contests.
Miley looking to bounce back after rough outingCincinnati dropped its fourth straight game with a 14-11 loss in extra innings at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday. The Reds hit six home runs to come back from a four-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning but couldn’t hang on for the win. Jesse Winker finished with two home runs and three RBIs while Nick Castellanos went 2-for-6 with a home run and three RBIs in the loss.
Veteran left-hander Wade Miley is scheduled to toe the rubber for the Reds in the second game at Busch Stadium this weekend. After posting 11 scoreless innings to start the year, Miley was knocked around for four runs on five hits in five innings of work against the Cleveland Indians during his last trip to the mound. The 34-year-old comes in with a 2-1 overall record to go along with a 2.25 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP through three starts.
Wade Miley, 82mph Changeup de-helmeting Ohtani.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 25, 2019
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Shohei's 'Extra Strong' Helmet Glue.
'We'll stick your helmet on, so you can stick to hitting.' pic.twitter.com/Vpudy34506
Miley struggled with walks during his first season in Cincinnati. He finished 2020 with an 0-3 record to go along with a 5.65 ERA and a 5.65 BB/9 walk rate. However, he’s walked just three batters in 16 frames this season (1.69 BB/9) and his ERA is down more than three full points as a result.
Miley has seen the Cardinals eight times during his MLB career, going 3-4 with a 4.03 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in those matchups. However, he’s performed well at Busch Stadium, posting a 3.18 ERA in five career starts (2-3). According to Baseball Savant, current Cardinals are batting .342 in 85 plate appearances against the Reds’ lefty coming into Saturday’s start.
Gant still searching for first win of 2021 seasonSt. Louis is scheduled to counter with right-hander John Gant, who is starting to establish himself as a reliable MLB starter. While he’s still searching for his first win of the season, Gant has worked five innings in back-to-back starts. In his last trip to the mound, the 28-year-old allowed just two runs in five innings of work in a loss versus the Philadelphia Phillies. The home run was the first that Gant had surrendered since the 2019 season. He comes in with an 0-2 record to go along with a 3.21 ERA in three starts.
John Gant has two hits in his entire career. They both came in 2018. They were both home runs. pic.twitter.com/OpsUdMeFbS— jôsh (9-10) (@joshisnothome) February 16, 2021
Command has never been Gant’s forte but his early-season struggles are something to keep an eye on. He comes in walking a career-high 7.07 batters per nine innings of work and surrendered five free passes in his last start against the Phillies. Gant’s fastball velocity and strikeout rate are also way down this season. He averaged 10.90 K/9 and 94.5 mph on his heater last season but is down to just 8.36 K/9 and 91.6 mph through his first three starts.
Gant made four relief appearances against the Reds last season, finishing 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. He is 4-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 18 career appearances versus the Reds but has never made a start against them. According to Baseball Savant, current Reds are batting just .139 in 43 plate appearances off of Gant heading into Saturday’s contest.
- Reds are 16-36 in their last 52 road games with the total set at 9.0-10.5.
- Reds are 5-12 in their last 17 during game 2 of a series.
- Reds are 1-4 in their last 5 games as an underdog.
- Cardinals are 5-2 in their last 7 home games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Cardinals are 9-4 in their last 13 Saturday games.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
As good as Miley has been this season, he’s still a candidate for some regression. The veteran lefty has benefited from a .175 BABIP and has stranded 87.0 percent of his baserunners so far this season, which is way up from his career average of 72.4 percent. Meanwhile, Gant has pitched well despite issuing 11 walks through his first three starts. He also does a good job of limiting the long ball, which should keep the Cardinals in this game. Take St. Louis to bounce back with a win at home against the Reds on Saturday afternoon.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Cardinals offense has been quiet as of late but should be due for a breakout soon and they will be up against a pitcher due for some regression of his own. St. Louis has scored two runs or fewer in three of its last four games heading into Friday’s series opener, so look for the Cardinals’ bats to come alive in this series. Meanwhile, Miley has benefited from some good luck so far this season and Gant is walking batters at an alarming rate, so both teams should have plenty of run-scoring opportunities in this game. Take the over in this NL Central clash at Busch Stadium on Saturday afternoon.