The St. Louis Cardinals (22-29, 23-28 RL, 28-22-1 O/U) battle the Cincinnati Reds (21-28, 27-22 RL, 27-22 O/U) as the division rivals conclude a three-game series on Thursday afternoon. The Cardinals will send Miles Mikolas to the hill. The Reds will give the nod to Luke Weaver. The Reds lead the season series 2-1 after a 10-3 victory on Wednesday.
Mikolas Propels Cards to Win vs. Dodgers
Miles Mikolas will take the mound on Thursday afternoon. Mikolas was solid in his previous start, holding the Dodgers to only three runs in seven innings, resulting in a no-decision in a game the Cardinals won by a 6-5 score. The veteran had a disastrous April but has rebounded with a 3.13 ERA this month and now has a 4.77 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP accompanied by a 2-1 record in 54.2 innings pitched on the season. Mikolas struggled against the Reds last season, allowing 14 runs in 22 innings, and is 3-5 with a poor 5.47 ERA in 77.1 career innings.
The Cardinals have actually been better on the road where they are only two games below .500 entering Wednesday. They swept the Red Sox in their previous road series and have won four consecutive series propelled by a flurry of runs. They stand at 7-3 in their last ten games.
Just checked the calendar, it's still Paul DeJong SZN. #STLCards pic.twitter.com/Xly56yTtaU— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 23, 2023
Nolan Arenado is having another productive season. The veteran third baseman has carried the Cards' offense at times and has collected 20 RBIs and a .970 OPS this month. He now has 34 RBIs complemented by a .754 OPS on the season. Arenado posted nine RBIs against the Reds last season and 0 for 7 in this series.
The Cardinals are posting an average of 5.16 runs per game, marking them fifth. The pitching staff has reported a 4.34 team ERA, placing them 17th.
Weaver Starts, Reds Hit Rough Patch
Luke Weaver will get the nod to conclude the series. Weaver had more issues last time out, squandering four runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings against the Yankees, and was able to escape with the no-decision in a clash the Reds lost in extra innings. The young right-hander has conceded at least four runs in all but one start and has a poor 6.54 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP to go with a 1-2 record in 31.2 innings pitched on the season. This marks his first career meeting against the Cards.
Cincinnati is struggling, losing two consecutive series prior to this one. They dropped two of three meetings against the Rockies followed by a home sweep at the hands of the Yankees. This is a squad that relies on hitting due to weak pitching. The pitching staff has allowed 13 runs in the opening two games of this series.
Just touched it a little bit. 👉⚾— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 23, 2023
I'm Right Here Play presented by @StElizabethNKY pic.twitter.com/BugFcwOhsC
Nick Senzel is slumping at the dish, posting a weak .666 OPS on the month. The 27-year-old was once the Reds' top prospect but has not lived up to the hype. He has 20 RBIs and a decent .718 OPS on the season. Senzel only hit .233 with four RBIs against the Cardinals last season and is 3 for 8 with two RBIs in this series.
The Reds are scoring an average of only 4.29 runs on the season, ranking them 19th. The pitching has been exploited recently and have registered a 5.10 team ERA, pegging them 28th.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The St. Louis Cardinals have rebounded nicely in recent weeks, going 9-4 in their last 13 games, and have won four consecutive series. They have beaten strong opposition in that span highlighted by series wins against the Red Sox and Dodgers. The Reds are plummeting, losing seven of their last ten games.
Furthermore, Cards’ starter Miles Mikolas has been solid, registering a 3.13 ERA in his four starts this month. Reds’ starter Luke Weaver can’t be relied on against this hot offense. He has squandered four or more runs in all but one outing this season and has a brutal 7.88 ERA at home. The Cards are hitting a ton of home runs recently and Weaver has served up nine bombs in his six outings.
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect plenty of runs. Miles Mikolas is no ace and has trouble against the Reds. He surrendered 14 runs in 22.1 innings against the rivals last year and a poor 5.47 ERA in 77.1 career innings against the division rivals.
In addition, the Cardinals' bats are some of the hottest in the big leagues. They have scored five or more runs in seven of their last ten games. The Reds have squandered 16 runs in this series. The over has been the common trend with Weaver on the mound, delivering in four of his last five outings. The over is also a convincing 6-1 in the Cardinals’ last seven games.