MLB: Reds, Cards both surging ahead of series opener

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Two teams trending in the right direction meet when the Cincinnati Reds begin a three-game series against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

The Reds are looking to build on their first series sweep in over a month, while St. Louis has won a season-best five straight games and 10 of its past 12.

Cincinnati completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 4-1 victory on Sunday. Jonathan India and Nick Martini each drove in two runs in the win.

“It shows what we’re capable of doing when we play well,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We know that about ourselves. We believe that we absolutely have to go out and show it. It’s nice to see for our team and our players, just fighting to shift the energy around.”

Cincinnati is expected to activate left-hander Nick Lodolo (3-2, 3.34 ERA) from the injured list to start the series opener. Lodolo would be making his first start since May 11, when he allowed four runs over six innings in a 5-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

The 26-year-old Lodolo was placed on the 15-day injured list four days later with a left groin strain.

Paul Goldschmidt is 3-for-5 with a home run against Lodolo, who is 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA in two career starts vs. St. Louis.

Goldschmidt homered twice and drove in four runs in the Cardinals’ 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Center fielder Michael Siani helped secure the victory with a diving catch in the eighth inning.

“I’m not sure if people realize how good he’s been in center field,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said of Siani. “This kid is really good out there, and he’s taking some good at-bats for us, too.”

Right-hander Lance Lynn (2-2, 3.68) will take the mound for the Cardinals. He allowed one unearned run over six innings in a 3-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles last Tuesday.

Lynn, 37, bounced back with a strong outing after going 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in his previous three May starts.

In 22 career appearances (19 starts) against Cincinnati, Lynn is 12-4 with a 3.29 ERA.

Reds third baseman Jeimer Candelario should be available for the series opener after missing the past two games because of a stiff neck.

The Reds are in last place in the National League Central, but they are hoping to climb the standings over the next few weeks with 23 of their next 31 games against division foes.

“When you’re playing in the division, these games are obviously a little more intense, a little bit more personal,” Cincinnati outfielder Will Benson said. “I think we’re going to match that level of intensity. I hope we do.”

St. Louis shortstop Masyn Winn brings a 15-game hitting streak into the series opener, while outfielder Alec Burleson has a hit in 10 straight games.

The Cardinals are monitoring the status of right fielder Lars Nootbaar, who was scratched from the lineup prior to Sunday’s game due to a hamstring injury. Marmol said the move was precautionary.

–Field Level Media

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