Cardinals vs Reds Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Expert Picks for Tuesday, May 23
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Nolan Arenado.
- The St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds continue their NL Central showdown on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park.
- The Cards entered the series on a hot stretch before dropping the series opener on Monday.
- Continue reading for a Cardinals vs. Reds game preview, plus betting picks on a team total and player prop.
Cardinals vs. Reds Odds
-115 / -105
-115 / -105
Few teams had a more disappointing start to the season than the Cardinals. They started 10-24 and had the worst record in the National League on May 6.
Since that date though, the Red Birds have been red hot. They are 11-4 in their last 15 games. That turnaround has coincided with Nolan Arenado heating up at the plate. He is batting .328 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs over his last 15 games.
The Reds have been jumped in the standings by the surging Cardinals, though they were able to sneak out a win in extra innings in Monday’s series opener.
I’ll break down the second game of Cardinals vs. Reds on Tuesday and whether St. Louis is a good bet to keep things rolling.
After flirting with retirement and receiving a goodbye sendoff, 41-year-old Adam Wainwright decided to reverse course and return for another season. He has struggled, sitting with a 5.74 ERA through his first three starts.
Digging into the numbers, it gets even worse. Wainwright has a shocking 8.44 xERA, and only four pitchers in the league who have thrown more than 10 innings have an xERA that bad. He has an 11.1% strikeout rate, one of the worst in the league.
Overall, Wainwright currently sits in the bottom 1% of the league in xERA, xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, Whiff% and fastball velocity. His once-lethal curveball has a .345 xwOBA and fails to generate strikeouts.
Led by the bat of Arenado, St. Louis has climbed to third in wRC+ and fifth in wOBA. Arenado has been on a tear lately, but Nolan Gorman has been consistently great all season. He has a wRC+ of 178 and is tied for second in the league with Aaron Judge.
If you watch Graham Ashcraft pitch, it’s clear he has the stuff to be an above-average pitcher, but he has yet to get the results. The second-year starter has a 4.84 ERA and 4.51 xERA.
Part of the reason for those numbers is two nightmare starts in which he allowed seven and eight runs. He’s held opponents under three runs in his other seven starts.
The clear strength for Ashcraft is his devastating cutter. It averages nearly 97 mph and can hit over 100 on the radar gun. He throws that or his slider for 93% of his pitches. Ashcraft has been able to use those two pitches to shut down left-handed hitters to just a .198 average, but right-handed hitters have gotten to him.
The rebuilding Reds are just 26th in wRC+ and don’t have a regular starter with a wRC+ over 116. Jonathan India, T.J. Friedl and Jake Fraley are the only guys over 110, and Friedl is on the injured list.
Cardinals vs. Reds Betting Pick
The Cardinals’ bats have been on fire over the last two weeks, helping them climb back into the familiar view of the playoff picture. Over that span, the Cards lead the league in wRC+ and wOBA. They are averaging 6.7 runs per game over their last 14 games.
While facing a right-handed pitcher isn’t typically a positive split for the Cardinals, who have dominated left-handed pitching over recent years, they have a good matchup against Ashcraft.
Ashcraft throws a cutter and a slider that breaks in on left-handed hitters, who have just a .198 average and .274 wOBA against him. However, right-handed hitters are hitting .309 with a .366 wOBA against Ashcraft.
At the top of the Cardinals’ batting order, Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt, Willson Contreras and Arenado are all right-handed hitters. Their one big left-handed bat is Gorman, who has crushed righties.
St. Louis has hit cutters better than any team in the league this season by a wide margin. Gorman, in particular, has one of the highest run values against cutters. The Cardinals should be able to neutralize Ashcraft’s best weapon — a pitch he uses over 56% of the time.
I don’t know what to expect out of the aging Wainwright, so I’ll take him out of the equation. Back St. Louis’s offense to stay hot by playing its team total over 5.5.
As a bonus pick, it’s Dinger Tuesday. My colleague Anthony Dabbundo always has a great piece on his favorite selections for the weekly FanDuel Promotion, but I’ll throw out Gorman as a player I will be betting to homer in a game that could have a few long balls.
Pick: Cardinals Team Total Over 5.5 (-110; DraftKings)
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