MLB Baseball

11
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
St. Louis6 1 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 11100
Cincinnati1 0 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 6102
6
  W: G. Gallegos (1-0)   L: L. Castillo (0-1)
1:10 PM PT2:10 PM MT3:10 PM CT4:10 PM ET16:10 ET20:10 GMT4:10 1:10 PM MST3:10 PM EST3:40 PM VEN0:10 UAE (+1)2:10 PM CT, April 1, 2021
Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio  Attendance: 12,264

Nolan Arenado, Cardinals start off with Reds in Cincinnati

According to STATS
According to STATS

St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds

  1. The Cardinals won six of 10 games against the Reds in 2020, including a 16-2 win on September 1 -- the Cardinals' largest win over the Reds since 1947 (17-2). St. Louis has won the season series with Cincinnati in each of the last nine seasons, the second-longest active such streak in MLB (LAD versus SD, 10).
  2. The Cardinals had a 17-day pause to their 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic but managed to finish with a 30-28 record, their 13th consecutive season with a winning mark. That is the second-longest active such streak in MLB (Yankees, 28) and the second longest in franchise history (15, 1939-1953).
  3. The Reds finished 2020 with a 31-29 record and made the postseason for the first time since 2013. Cincinnati has not won a playoff round since 1995 (defeated LA 3-0 in NLDS), the longest active such streak in MLB and the second longest in franchise history (29, 1941-1969).
  4. Paul Goldschmidt led the 2020 Cardinals in batting average (.304), on-base percentage (.417) and slugging percentage (.466) but did not rank in the top two in home runs (6, 3rd) or RBI (21, 5th). Eugenio Suarez led the 2020 Reds with 15 home runs and 38 RBI and his 98 total home runs since 2018 are second in MLB (Mike Trout, 101).
  5. Luis Castillo was 0-5 with a 4.10 ERA in July and August last season but 4-2 with a 2.13 ERA since September 1 (regular and postseason). Castillo twirled his first career complete game in a 3-1 win at St. Louis on September 11 in his only meeting with the Redbirds last season.
  6. Jack Flaherty allowed two earned runs over 7.0 innings against Pittsburgh on Opening Day 2020 and then did not pitch for 25 days due to the team's pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Flaherty had just two quality starts and a 4.81 ERA in his nine starts from August 19 forward (regular and postseason).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 4/1/2021 thru 4/4/2021

The St. Louis Cardinals hope adding one of baseball's best offensive performers will send them to the top of the NL Central.

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds still aim for a second straight postseason berth despite losing the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner.

The quest for these division foes begins Thursday with a matchup in Cincinnati.

Both St. Louis and Cincinnati benefited from the expanded postseason format due to the abbreviated 2020 campaign.

Despite an early August COVID-19-related disruption and ranking last in the majors in homers (51) and 26th in OPS (.694), the Cardinals were two games over .500 and made the playoffs for a second consecutive year. Cincinnati ranked 27th in runs (243), but seventh in home runs (90) and fourth in starters' ERA (3.50) to finish 31-29 and earn its first postseason spot since 2013.

Looking to boost some of those offensive numbers, the Cardinals acquired five-time All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado from Colorado. Though Arenado endured a subpar 2020 with eight homers and a .253 average in 48 games, he's clubbed 235 career home runs and makes St. Louis the apparent favorite in the Central.

"I made this decision based on hopefully going to a competitive team, a team that has great tradition," Arenado, who claims he's healed from last season's shoulder issue, told MLB.com. "And, I believe St. Louis has that.

"I feel like I'm in a better place now. ... I expect to be back to normal and being back to who I am."

Arenado, a lifetime .318 hitter with 12 homers in 43 games versus Cincinnati, should benefit from playing alongside fellow star Paul Goldschmidt. The veteran first baseman hit .304 last season, and prior to 2020, hit at least 33 homers in three straight seasons.

Goldschmidt is 3-for-20 with eight strikeouts against projected Cincinnati starter Luis Castillo. However, two of those hits were home runs.

With 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer now with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Sonny Gray dealing with back spasms, Castillo gets Cincinnati's Opening Day start. The 28-year-old right-hander and 2019 All-Star went 4-6 with a 3.21 ERA and struck out 89 in 12 starts last season. He allowed a run and two hits during a complete-game, 3-1 win on Sept. 11 in his only start against the Cardinals last season.

"He's just a young pitcher, still, that continues to get better and better in so many ways," said Reds manager David Bell, who is mourning the recent death of brother, Mike, from cancer.

"He competes as well as anyone, any pitcher that I've been around."

The Reds look for some offensive consistency with essentially the same cast of characters from 2020. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez hit .202 but belted a team-high 15 homers last season. Nick Castellanos returns after hitting 14 homers in his first season in Cincinnati, while Jesse Winker homered 12 times and batted .255 -- best among everyday Reds players.

Winker and Suarez are a combined 7-for-23 with three homers versus projected Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty. Teammate Joey Votto is 5-for-10 against the right-hander, but his Opening Day status is uncertain due to a recent bout with COVID-19.

Flaherty went 4-3 with a 4.91 ERA over nine starts during a disjointed 2020 campaign. He's 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA in seven career starts against the Reds but didn't face them last year.

In 11 career games against the Cardinals -- all starts -- Castillo is 4-4 with a 3.84 ERA.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 30, 2021

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