Monday, April 07, 2014
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Preview: Reds At Cardinals

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[April 07, 2014]  Great pitching and rain delays defined two of the first three meetings between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. It could be a common theme in this three-game set as well as the Cardinals welcome the Reds in their home opener on Monday. St. Louis traded 1-0 results with Cincinnati in the teams’ opening series last week before the Cardinals prevailed 7-6 in the finale, but the final two games were marred by lengthy rain delays that lasted a total of six hours, 22 minutes.

Starters Tony Cingrani and Michael Wacha did not allow a run over 13 2/3 combined innings in the middle game of last week’s soggy series and may be asked to take the hill in less than ideal conditions again on Monday as the forecast for St. Louis calls for an 80 percent chance of precipitation. The Cardinals, who will raise their National League championship banner, have alternated wins and losses through six games after dropping two of three in Pittsburgh over the weekend. The Reds avoided a sweep on Sunday with a 2-1 road win over the New York Mets.

TV: 4:15 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Ohio (Cincinnati), Fox Sports Midwest (St. Louis)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds LH Tony Cingrani (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Michael Wacha (0-0, 0.00)

Cingrani struck out nine over seven scoreless frames in Wednesday’s no-decision against St. Louis, giving up only a pair of singles and two walks while continuing to flash the form he did over the second half of last season. The Illinois native went 4-3 with a 2.43 ERA after the All-Star break, limiting opposing hitters to a .196 average over that span. He has been equally effective in four career appearances (three starts) against the Cardinals, going 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA.

Following up on his impressive 2013 campaign, Wacha also settled for a no-decision on Wednesday after allowing three hits and fanning seven in 6 2/3 innings. The 22-year-old has been particularly difficult to handle for a few key members of the Cincinnati’s lineup, holding Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips each hitless in eight career at-bats. Wacha hasn’t given up a run in 16 2/3 innings versus the Reds, but has yet to register a decision despite his success in three appearances (two starts) against them.

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  1. The Cardinals are 25-3-2 in their last 30 home series against the Reds.

  2. Cincinnati expects to activate C Devin Mesoraco (strained left oblique) from the disabled list on Monday.

  3. This series marks the second straight year that St. Louis will host Cincinnati in a home opener; the Reds rolled to a 13-4 victory in last year’s opener before getting outscored 15-1 over the final two contests.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 3, Reds 2

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