2013 record against St. Louis: 7-11
After starting the season 3-10 against the Cardinals, the Reds have won four of the last five meetings.
St. Louis was getting great starting pitching early in the season, but its rotation has fallen back to the pack lately. However, there shouldn't be many Reds fans that would welcome a one-game playoff against the Cardinals.
Adam Wainwright has allowed at least six runs in each of his last two starts against the Reds, but he is 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA in 32.2 career postseason innings.
The Cardinals rank first in the NL and third in MLB with 688 runs. The Reds are second in the NL with 626 runs, so there's a huge gap between the two. St. Louis is hitting .328 with runners in scoring position, which would be the highest average ever, and it is hitting .298 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
If Allen Craig is unable to play again this season, the powerful Matt Adams will be able to take his place at first base. Craig is the leader of the offense, but the Cardinals are extremely deep.
Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina are all capable of having huge games. It's tough for any pitcher to go through that lineup.
Check out the numbers that the Reds' rotation has put up against the Cardinals:
||12 (9 ER)
||18 (17 ER)
Notice any trend in those numbers? Well, there is an interesting note that hasn't been brought up. Look at the numbers that the hard-throwers have put up against the numbers that Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake have posted.
Mat Latos, Homer Bailey and Tony Cingrani are a combined 7-3 against the Cardinals, and their record should be even better. Latos was a tough-luck loser in August, and Bailey was blooped out of a game in May. Bailey's first start against the Cardinals was ugly, but he hasn't allowed a run in 14.1 innings against St. Louis.
Meanwhile Arroyo and Leake have combined to go 0-5 in eight total starts. Neither pitcher has an ERA below 5.00 against St. Louis this season as the Cardinals have been able to hit their slower pitches.
Those are extreme opposites, but they go in the Reds' favor. It indicates that the Reds would be better suited playing a one-game playoff rather than a five- or seven-game series.
The Reds dominated the Cardinals in Cincinnati last week, but the Cardinals are in first place. They have also made it to the NLCS in back-to-back seasons, so they have experience on their side.
Recent success against their division rival has given the Reds a boost in confidence. They now know that they can compete with the best, and they have been able to use their hard-throwers to shut down the Cardinals' offense. If the two meet in the playoffs, look for Latos and Bailey to be at the front of the rotation and see if Cingrani gets a look after he dominated St. Louis this season.