Reds, Cardinals to battle down South in Mexico

Field Level Media

April 12, 2019 at 10:47 pm.

The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals hope their elevated play travels well when they head south of the border to open an abbreviated two-game series against each other on Saturday in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Reds will be considered the host team in the series that will be played at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey, the home of the Sultanes de Monterrey of the Mexican League.

“We’re ready to go,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “I’m not completely sure what to expect, but we’re really looking forward to (the trip) and it’s been well-planned out and it’ll be fun to bring baseball to that part of the world. It should be a good experience.”

The Reds put an emphatic stop to their eight-game losing skid by belting eight homers and outscoring Miami 21-1 in a three-game sweep. The series run total matched the sum of Cincinnati’s first nine contests.

The starting rotation surrendered the lone run over a combined 16 innings and struck out 21. The Reds have outscored the opposition 42-35 on a season in which the club has won just four of 12 games.

“The pitchers stopping all the other clubs has been great,” Cincinnati outfielder Yasiel Puig said after his two-run double in the fifth inning helped pave the way to a 5-0 win over the Marlins on Thursday afternoon.

“We’re losing a lot of games by one run because the offense is not giving any runs to defend the pitchers’ good job. Now, everybody is together. That’s the reason we won three games in a row.”

Right-hander Tanner Roark (0-0, 5.79 ERA) allowed three runs for the second straight outing before exiting Saturday’s contest after five innings in a no-decision at Pittsburgh.

Roark owns a 2-3 mark with a gaudy 6.58 ERA in seven career appearances (five starts) versus St. Louis after splitting a pair of decisions last season. The 32-year-old recorded a quality start in a 5-4 win over the Cardinals on Aug. 16 before surrendering six runs on 10 hits — including two homers — in five innings of a 7-6 loss on Sept. 5.

Marcell Ozuna (13-for-41, homer, seven RBIs) has fared well against Roark, although the hurler has kept slugger Paul Goldschmidt (3-for-14) and Paul DeJong (1-for-8) under wraps.

While Goldschmidt is just 3-for-34 with nine strikeouts in April, DeJong extended his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games on Thursday after the Cardinals won their fifth straight following a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“You can put him just about anywhere in the lineup and he’s going to be productive. He’s proven that,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said of DeJong, who has an extra-base hit in each of his last five games after Thursday’s 11-7 win.

“Of the many things I respect about Paul is he’s very intentional about being the best player he can possibly be. The guy just continues to grow.”

Right-hander Adam Wainwright (1-0, 4.50 ERA), who is one win shy of 150 for his career, struck out nine for the second time since April 2017 in a 4-1 victory over San Diego on Sunday.

The 37-year-old owns a 9-11 mark with a 5.09 ERA in 29 career appearances (24 starts) versus Cincinnati.

Slugger Joey Votto (14-for-46, three homers, eight RBIs) has enjoyed his fair share of success versus Wainwright, although Matt Kemp (5-for-32) hasn’t been as fortunate.