It is no surprise that St. Louis and Cincinnati have no love lost for each other. The two teams atop the NL Central will only see their rivalry grow more intense this weekend as they fight for the lead atop the division. The Cardinals led the Reds by three games heading into the three-game weekend set, which the Reds will host.
The Reds are a sparkling 21-9 at home this season while the Cards are one of the league’s best road teams at 20-9. Here’s a preview of the three weekend matchups as well as Friday’s MLB odds:
Adam Wainwright (8-3, 2.33) vs. Mike Leake (5-2, 2.75) – Friday, 7:10 PM ET
Odds: Cardinals -120
Wainwright is back to his pre-injury Cy Young form, but he has struggled against the Reds in the past as a loss earlier this season dropped his record to 4-7 in 17 games (12 starts) when facing Cincinnati with a 4.14 ERA. Leake has given up one earned run in his last four starts, and he is 2-2 in five starts against the Cards with a 4.66 ERA. Wainwright has a 5-1 mark and a 3.12 ERA in seven road starts this season, while Leake is 1-1 in five home starts with a 2.88 ERA. This is the favorite for best pitching matchup of the series, and it could be the best matchup of the entire weekend.
Tyler Lyons (2-1, 2.66) vs. Mat Latos (5-0, 2.90) – Saturday, 7:15 PM ET
However, this could sneak up and steal the show as the rookie Lyons takes on the unbeaten Latos, who beat the Cards earlier this season to bump his career mark against them to 3-4 in nine starts, although his 6.85 ERA isn’t encouraging at all. After winning his first two career starts, Lyons took a loss against the defending World Series champions from San Francisco, but he didn’t pitch all that poorly. He has never faced the Reds, so he’ll be introduced to this bitter rivalry on the road where his first two wins came from and he has allowed two earned runs in 14.0 innings. Baseball betting fans should note that Latos is 3-0 in five home starts with an ERA of 3.00, and another win over the Cards would really make a statement for the 6’6” righthander.
Lance Lynn (8-1, 2.76) vs. Bronson Arroyo (6-5, 3.38) – Sunday, 8:00 PM ET
Don’t sleep on this matchup either, as the red-hot Lynn tries to keep his current pace going. He has a pair of wins over the Reds so far in 2013, and he is now 2-0 in six games (three starts) against Cincinnati. But you have to look at his 11.25 ERA at the Great American Ball Park in three games (one start); it is definitely something to keep an eye on. Arroyo has won four of his last five starts, and even though he has a loss against St. Louis this season, he pitched well in that game, he just didn’t get the run support. In 35 career appearances (33 starts) against the Cards, Arroyo is 8-15 with a 4.54 ERA but he is 5-1 in seven home starts and this seems like the perfect time to improve that record. However, Lynn could have other ideas in this nationally-televised Sunday night game.