MLB Picks: Reds vs. Cardinals 6/4/21
Cincinnati Reds (25-29) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (31-26)
When: 8:15 p.m., Friday, June 4
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Moneyline: CIN +115/STL -135 (BAS - Reduced juice is now called “Less Juice” there. Cheaper odds; cheaper prices! Bet with the best!)
Runline: Reds +1.5/Cardinals -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Luis Castillo (1-8, 7.22 ERA, 1.78 WHIP) vs. Kwang-Hyun Kim (1-3, 3.65 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)
Fall From Grace
It’s hard to believe that Castillo is the same pitcher who was so strong for the Reds the past two Not only has Castillo not been dominant, he really hasn’t come close, as he’s only gotten past the sixth inning one time all season (the one game he won on April 7 against Pittsburgh). His most recent start against the Cubs was a little better on his part, as he only gave up two earned runs in five innings of work, but his defense let him down with two unearned runs, and the Reds’ bullpen was responsible for another six runs in a 10-2 beating for Chicago.
Castillo’s problems have been two-fold: he’s not doing enough to prevent runs, and when he does prevent runs, the offense doesn’t score enough, and the defense makes critical mistakes to gift the opponents’ insurance. Other than the win over Pittsburgh, Castillo has had just two starts where he’s allowed fewer than three earned runs — and on both occasions, the Reds’ defense bumbled their way into allowing two unearned runs to make their manageable deficit insurmountable.
Home Is Where the Wins Are
On the other side of the ledger, things haven’t exactly been rosy for Kwang-Hyun Kim either. The Cardinals’ hurler was off to a great start to the season but has really struggled in his past three starts, ending up on the losing end of all three appearances. St. Louis gave him very little help with the bats, but the Korean hurler couldn’t blame anyone but himself for ending Arizona’s 13-game losing streak, as the Diamondbacks pounded him for nine hits and four runs in five innings of work.
The good news for Kim is that he’s coming home to St. Louis, and Busch Stadium has been very friendly to him. In his brief career, he’s only made seven appearances in St. Louis, but every single one has been positive. He’s never given up more than one earned run when he’s pitched at Busch Stadium, and the Cardinals have come out on the winning end in six of Kim’s seven trips to the hill at Busch. The lone exception came on Aug. 27, 2020, against the Pirates, who only managed one run against Kim in six innings before scoring three against the Cardinal bullpen to hand Kim a no-decision and St. Louis a defeat.
If the Reds could get any consistency out of their pitching at all, they’d be downright dangerous. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, things are going in the opposite direction, as not only is the pitching a raging disaster, but now the offense is starting to have problems. Things hit their nadir for Cincinnati in a 17-3 loss to the Eagles — sorry, I meant the Phillies — on Tuesday, as the Reds both allowed double digits for the sixth time this year and failed to top three runs for the seventh time in nine games.
The big problems for the Reds are that the pitching is still dead last in ERA and that their opponents have figured out that the Cincinnati batting order is Jesse Winker, Nick Castellanos, and little else. With Winker sitting second and Castellanos third in the batting order, opponents can easily limit the damage they can cause by taking care of leadoff man Eugenio Suarez (who’s hitting .158) and mowing through the rest of the lineup. There’s no way to pitch around Winker with Castellanos protecting him, but as long as you don’t leave him any men on base, there’s not a lot he can do to punish you.
St. Louis learned that lesson the hard way on Thursday, as the Cardinals were only able to get a fielder’s choice on Suarez when a double play could have ended the second inning. Winker then came up with two outs and blasted a pitch to right, giving the Reds a lead they never lost. As long as the Cardinals don’t hand the Reds free runs, they should be in good shape here.
- The Reds are 1-5 in their past six games following a win.
- The Reds are 2-7 in their past nine against a team above .500.
- The Cardinals are 6-2 in their past eight home games.
- The Cardinals are 11-4 in their past 15 against the NL Central.
- The under is 6-1 in the Reds’ past seven road games.
- The under is 6-2 following a St. Louis loss.
- The over is 5-2-2 in the past nine meetings.
- The Reds are 5-11 in the past 16 matchups in St. Louis.
It’s going to be a warm evening in Missouri, with temperatures at 83 degrees and winds blowing seven miles per hour toward the left-field line in foul territory.
The Reds appear to be a mess that’s only getting worse, and the Cardinals should be better after struggling through Thursday and essentially handing Cincinnati a win. I don’t love betting on the run line, but Castillo has been pounded so badly this year that I think it might be worth the gamble here to avoid paying the juice. In either case, I’m going with St. Louis here. Did you know that you can bet on games live in progress after they’ve started? It’s exciting as hell! The absolute BEST live wagering platform can be found at Bovada Sportsbook! They offer Predictem readers a generous 50% bonus up to $250 free AND rebates on ALL your action! Click here to check’em out!
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