Reds-Cardinals: Can The Redlegs Deliver A Win?
So far, the 2016 season has been a recurring nightmare for the Cincinnati Reds. They are performing at the level expected after wholesale changes to the pitching rotation and offense. As the Reds prepare for a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals, the hope is that they can continue their winning ways. Mike Leake will be making his first return. He’ll toe the rubber for the Cards. John Lamb will try to get things rolling for the Reds.
The last time Lamb started, he had an amazing outing against the Rockies. The Reds’ lefty admitted to watching videos to help his performance. If he did the same thing before facing the Cards, he should have limited problems with the lineup. The added preparation gave him a solid foundation to work from.
#Reds open three-game set with rival Cardinals at GABP. https://t.co/OQtd7LKOEC pic.twitter.com/Big3LPgIGN
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 7, 2016
“I shared with Straily that for the first time in my career at this level, I felt like I was prepared out there. I watched video on the opponents and them failing, and it gave me a little bit more hope and optimism moving forward with my stuff,” Lamb eagerly explained, via Cincinnati Reds. “That’s the fully open and honest version of why I would hope nights like tonight could continue to happen.”
The feeling Lamb had, after his win against Colorado would be a welcome sense of deja vu for the Reds. The offense has shown signs of life after a series win over the Washington Nationals. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips are coming around. Jay Bruce is providing some pop with his bat. But, the Reds will eventually be trading him. The rebuilding process will continue to take a toll.
As a new generation of Reds starts to blossom, Redlegs fans are waiting for the winning to continue. The silver lining has been Adam Duvall. He’s turning out to be a bright spot in the restructuring process.
“I don’t know if anyone could have expected 16 homers in the first third of the season from a guy who was a platoon outfielder to start the year,” manager Bryan Price said. “He’s really not changed his approach. He’s not trying to lift everything to hit homers. He’s shown his power from right-center to the pull field. Ball just jumps off his bat.”
The downside of the equation has been the pitching staff. With their rivals in town for three games, the staff should be hyped for the occasion. The adrenaline should be flowing as high as it was for the Nats. But, it’s never that simple for the Reds’ rotation.
The Reds bullpen will need to be on high alert for the series. The Cards have been on a torrid power surge. On Saturday, St. Louis pummeled the Giants pitching staff for four home runs. The Redbirds have 21 homers, over their last 14 games. According to ESPN, the Cards are in a three-way tie for most long balls in the National League.
Lamb pitched well against the Cardinals last year. Over a span of 11 frames, he allowed no runs on eight hits and struck out 12.
The Reds have done a decent job of rebounding from an 11-game losing streak. The series wins against Colorado and Washington are a glimmer of hope. But the Cardinals always give Cincinnati a hard time. They have won only four of their last 21 series against the Cards and just three of the last 10 at Great American Ball Park.
Leake has been stable for St.Louis. He’s been able to produce five quality starts in the rotation. Over that stretch, he’s touting a 1.59 ERA.
“He’s been what we had hoped for, someone who would come in and give us a quality start,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
“Someone who would give our team a chance.”
That’s the pitcher the Reds will be trying to chase from the mound.
[Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images]