Losing two straight games to your bitter rivals is not how any team would want to start the second half, but that's where the St. Louis Cardinals find themselves after falling to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday and Saturday. Though the playoffs are still a long way away, the second half is loaded with division games and each is important as the Cardinals battle for entry to the postseason.
The good news for the Cardinals heading into Sunday night's game is that they won't be facing Reds ace Johnny Cueto, who was scratched from his start tonight due to a blister. In his place is Homer Bailey, who has been solid this year, posting a 4.14 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in the first half. That said, Bailey is no Cueto, and the Cardinals have already defeated Bailey once this season.
St. Louis will counter with Jake Westbrook, who was one of St. Louis' most consistent pitchers in the first half, posting a 3.75 ERA that was almost a full run below the 4.66 ERA that he finished last season with. Westbrook has also been close to unhittable in his career at Great American Ballpark, where in three starts he's only given up three earned runs in 18.2 innings.
Game date/time: Sunday, July 15, 7:05 p.m CT
Location: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis. For more coverage of this series, visit St. Louis Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos and Reds blog Red Reporter. For additional baseball coverage, check out Baseball Nation and MLB Daily Dish.