The Cincinnati Reds will seek a turning point in the National League playoff race Friday when they visit the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Reds (19-25) fell to the Chicago Cubs 8-5 in a game that dragged past midnight Thursday after a rain delay at the outset. The fourth-place Reds lost for the third time in four games and fell 6 1/2 games back of the Cubs the NL Central lead.
The second-place Cardinals (19-18) are coming off of a doubleheader split against the Detroit Tigers that left them three games off the division pace.
The Cardinals will start Adam Wainwright (4-0, 2.68 ERA) for the series opener at Busch Stadium. In his last start, Wainwright held the Cubs to two runs on six hits and one walk in 6 1/3 innings in a 4-2 victory. He struck out six.
That came on the heels of his 7-2 complete-game victory over the Cleveland Indians. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out nine.
“There’s a great lesson here for these youngsters if I go out and pitch a really good game, because it shouldn’t be, ‘All right, you pitched a great game, went all nine, so the next couple, shut it down,'” Wainwright said. “That’s not the message I’m trying to portray to these other guys. I want them to expect them to be great every time they go out there.
“And if they can see an old fellow like me go out there and continue to be good after a start like that, that sets a good example,” he added.
In his one start against the Cincinnati Reds this year, Wainwright took a no-decision after allowing four runs — two earned — in seven innings of a 5-4 victory. He is 10-12 with a 5.14 ERA in 33 career outings against the Reds, including 28 starts.
Joey Votto (18-for-55, six doubles, three homers, nine RBIs), Mike Moustakas (5-for-16, double, homer, five RBIs), and Tucker Barnhart (7-for-17, double, homer) have all hit well against Wainwright in their careers.
The Reds will counter with Luis Castillo (1-5, 3.95 ERA), who earned his first victory of the season in his last start. Castillo allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out eight in six innings as the Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2.
“Going into a game, you have to have that confidence that you’re going to win that game, regardless,” Castillo said. “So for me, it is important that we win. Especially if I’m going in and saying, ‘OK, I’m going to win. My team is going to win as well.’ So I think that’s still important.”
He has not faced the Cardinals this season, but he is 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA in 10 career starts against them. Key Cardinals hitters Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong are a combined 8-for-40 against Castillo.
The Cardinals lost closer Giovanny Gallegos to a groin muscle injury Thursday night. “It was pretty clear he wasn’t able to continue,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “He’s getting it looked at. Clearly couldn’t continue to compete.”
They have also quarantined pitcher Johan Oviedo after he came in contact with somebody who later tested positive for COVID-19. Outfielder Austin Dean came up from the team’s alternate training site to replace him on the active roster.
Reds infielder Mike Moustakas left Thursday night’s game with a left foot contusion. Reliever Tyler Thornburg also left the game with an injury.
The Reds activated Nate Jones from the paternity list and sent pitcher Jose De Leon to their alternate training site. The Reds hoped to get pitcher Wade Miley back for this series, but he has lingering shoulder soreness.
–Field Level Media