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Preview: Reds (6-9) at Cardinals (9-6)
Analysis  ·  BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Game: 2
Venue: Busch Stadium
Date: October 02, 2012 8:15 PM EDT
  

The defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals are on the verge of locking up a second consecutive trip to the postseason.

While the Cincinnati Reds have long since clinched, they're running out of time to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Winners of 11 of 14, the Cardinals look to keep rolling Tuesday night as they continue a three-game set against a visiting Reds team that hasn't been able to muster much offense of late.

Jaime Garcia threw 6 2-3 strong innings and hit his second career homer to help lead the Cardinals (87-73) to a 4-2 victory Monday, spoiling manager Dusty Baker's return to the Reds' dugout.

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The Cardinals sit two games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second NL wild-card spot with two to go.

"We've got to win," manager Mike Matheny said. " ... You have to just kind of play it out and don't get too far ahead of yourself."

The Cardinals can clinch a playoff berth with a win Tuesday or a Dodgers' loss to San Francisco.

"It's different with this one-game playoff looming over our heads if we get there," second baseman Daniel Descalso said. "I wouldn't expect a raucous celebration but, you know, some celebration is in order if we do clinch it."

Baker, who missed Cincinnati's previous 11 games after suffering a mini-stroke, saw his team's offensive woes continue Monday. The Reds (96-64) have split their last six games, scoring one or two runs five times over that stretch while hitting .220 - including .139 with runners in scoring position.

Cincinnati remains tied with Washington for the NL's best record after the Nationals fell 2-0 on Monday. The Reds need to finish ahead of Washington in order to earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs after losing the head-to-head series.

"The way I look at it, the big one's to come," said Baker, who missed the club's division-clinching win and Homer Bailey's no-hitter Friday.

Cincinnati, though, can't be feeling good about a matchup against Chris Carpenter (0-1, 3.27 ERA). The right-hander has typically dominated the Reds over the course of his career, going 12-1 with a 2.28 ERA over his last 15 starts in the series.

Carpenter is still seeking his first win since debuting late last month following shoulder surgery on his throwing arm. The veteran right-hander yielded two runs over five innings during a 5-4, 11-inning road loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 21 before giving up two runs and four hits over six innings Wednesday in a 2-0 loss at Houston.

"I'm glad I was able to build off Chicago and come in tonight and try to do a little better and give my team a chance to win," he told the team's official website. "And if I can get better for the next one, that's what we're looking for ... I'm still working the kinks out a little bit."

The Reds, meanwhile, are hoping to see Mat Latos (13-4, 3.52) come out with another strong showing in his final postseason tuneup. The right-hander is 8-2 with a 2.45 ERA over the last three months, allowing two earned runs or fewer in all but four of 18 starts over that stretch.

After throwing eight innings of six-hit ball during a 6-0 win over the Dodgers on Sept. 22, Latos surrendered one run and three hits over seven innings of Thursday's 2-1, walk-off victory over Milwaukee.

Latos, though, can't be looking forward to facing St. Louis. He was tagged for seven runs and nine hits in five-plus innings during an 8-5 loss Aug. 24, dropping to 1-4 with a 10.24 ERA over six starts against the Cardinals - his highest career ERA against any opponent.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 SERIES AT A GLANCE
GAME 1
Reds at Cardinals
Mon, Oct 1 Final 2 to 4
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 2
Reds at Cardinals
Tue, Oct 2 Final 3 to 1
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 3
Reds at Cardinals
Wed, Oct 3 Final 0 to 1
 Boxscores    Recaps

 CURRENT LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 CIN  +120   -200   7 
 STL  -130   +170   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CURRENT SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 CIN  +129   -190   7 
 STL  -139   +165   
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 CIN  61%   2%   63% 
 STL  39%   98%   37% 
BT MOVEMENTS

 MLB PREVIEWS
 Tuesday, Oct 2
 
    Red Sox at Yankees
7:05 PM EDT
    Twins at Blue Jays
7:05 PM EDT
    White Sox at Indians
7:05 PM EDT
    Phillies at Nationals
7:05 PM EDT
    Braves at Pirates
7:05 PM EDT
    Mets at Marlins
7:10 PM EDT
    Orioles at Rays
7:10 PM EDT
    Astros at Cubs
8:05 PM EDT
    Tigers at Royals
8:10 PM EDT
    Padres at Brewers
8:10 PM EDT
    Reds at Cardinals
8:15 PM EDT
    Rockies at Diamondbacks
9:40 PM EDT
    Rangers at Athletics
10:05 PM EDT
    Angels at Mariners
10:10 PM EDT
    Giants at Dodgers
10:10 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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