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Monday, April 07, 2014

Series Preview: Cardinals vs Reds

We just previewed the Cardinals last week, so I'm going to be pretty brief with this one.  A lot of times, if the Reds have faced a team in the prior month, I will be skipping that preview this year.  But I have a few new toys I've added to the spreadsheets, so I figured I'd use this as a test run!

Having at least prevented the sweep with their victory Sunday afternoon, the Reds head to St. Louis to help the Cardinals open their home season.  For their part, the Cardinals also just lost two of three at the hands of the Pirates.  Yesterday's game featured Edinson Volquez outpitching Adam Wainwright for an unexpected (but very welcome) victory.  Fun times!

In any case, while we should draw no predictions from it, thus far both teams' offenses have sputtered, and their bullpens have not performed well.  Both teams, however, have enjoyed excellent starting pitching to date.

Busch Stadium

Run Park Factor: 97
HR Park Factor: 94/90 LHB/RHB

Busch Stadium plays as a moderately pitcher-friendly park, which makes the Cardinals offense seem all the more frightening.  Deep fences down the lines allow it to depress home runs, and indeed just about everything except for singles.


It sounds as if Billy Hamilton will be available to play soon.  If he starts on Monday, I'm certainly hoping that both he and poor Zack Cozart can get themselves their first hits of the year and get back on track.

Devin Mesoraco should also return this series, likely Tuesday, which will mean Tucker Barnhart can head down to Triple-A to continue developing.  I thought Tucker did a heck of a job catching Cueto's game the other day, and I'm looking forward to him returning soon.

The Cardinals' infield is off to a good start, but their outfield has been struggling.

Also, you'll note Yadier' Molina's projection has jumped since the last profile.  That's because I'm adding framing data to his normal fielding projection.  More on that later this week. :)

Probable Starters

For Game 1, we get a rematch of last week's terrific game.  I'm hoping for another!  Remember when Cingrani was hitting 96 in the first inning?  That was fun.

The rest of the pitchers had rough first starts.  One start doesn't mean much, of course.  It was good to see Homer averaging 95 mph, at least.  I'm looking forward to seeing Shelby Miller (if I can sneak looks while at work...unlikely), who got rocked by the Pirates in his first start and basically didn't pitch in the Cardinals' postseason.


Aside from two notable (and painful) blow-ups, the Reds have gotten zeros from their pens.  I'm a bit surprised at how much work Manny Parra has gotten, and was especially surprised that Price opted to give him an extended save yesterday.  At this point, we have to expect that he won't be available to pitch on Monday, right?  I guess that will give Sam LeCure more chances to pitch, which is a good thing.

The Cardinals have gotten good results from Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez, but that's about it.  And Carlos Martinez's xFIP isn't looking rosy.  But hey, small samples.  It is interesting that the top 3 of their pen are all hard-throwers, but the rest are (by bullpen standards) soft-tossers.