Well, the good news is at least we’re back at home. The bad news is we have to play the Cincinnati Reds (66-42). The Milwaukee Brewers (48-59) have turned from possible contenders to now playing spoilers. It’s the best we can manage for our buddies of the NL Central, right? This is a series that I believe really is more so for the Reds to try and win if they want to expand their lead in the NL Central. However, I do not count out the Brewers because come on, who doesn’t like an underdog? The Brewers have gone 2-7 against the Reds this year and I’m hoping we can turn it around a little bit, just to show everyone we’re not that dead. This series is a short home stand for the Brewers, who then will go on a six-game road trip after Wednesday’s game concludes.
Since our last meeting with the Reds, the Brewers’ woes have certainly not stopped. They are 4-9 with an ERA I’d just rather not even bring up and four blown saves. The offense has looked pretty good, excluding last night’s game. The Brewers though have just not improved their quality of play overall and as the story has been all season, pitching wins games in the end. With the closer role literally between John Axford, Kameron Loe and Francisco Rodriguez, it’s really hard to establish a solid bullpen. Offensively, it’s been the same story: Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Norichika Aoki. However lately, Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart have been starting to warm-up and ever since Jonathan Lucroy came back, there is an extra pop into the line-up. Hart in particular has batted .435 in the past seven days with two home runs and five RBIs.
For the Reds, the line-up has not faltered at all without Joey Votto. All-Star Jay Bruce has had tremendous success at the plate lately, hitting .381 with two home runs and five RBIs. Rookie shortstop Zack Cozart has also done well in his last seven games going 9 for 26 (.346 average) with five runs scored, one home run, two RBIs and one triple. Brandon Phillips, who has been battling an injury lately, has also stepped up his production at the plate. Reds’ skipper Dusty Baker says he hopes Votto is back on field within 10-14 days.
Pitching wise for the Brewers, nothing’s changed…at all. Mike Fiers continues to dominate, Marco Estrada gets no run support, Yovani Gallardo is now our only ace, Randy Wolf is just there and Mark Rogers is just taking up space probably til Shaun Marcum is back. The bullpen is a mess. Everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong with the Brewers’ pitching staff. I’m not sure the firing of bullpen coach Stan Kyles really did anything productive, but I guess I wouldn’t know since I’m not Doug Melvin.
The Reds’ pitching staff has literally turned themselves into one of the better staffs in the MLB, especially bullpen wise. Efforts from Johnny Cueto this season have definitely put him in Cy Young talk and he is backing it up. Mat Latos has also looked pretty impressive. Latos has won his last three decisions, in which he only gave up four runs in 20.1 innings pitched. Bronson Arroyo has also done decent, winning his last three decisions as well. The bullpen for the Reds, held together by Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman, and now with the addition of Jonathan Broxton, is one of the top rated bullpens in the league.
Here are the projected pitching match-ups and start times for this three game series:
- Monday: Arroyo (7-6, 3.87 ERA) vs Gallardo (9-8, 3.92 ERA) – 8:10 PM EST / 7:10 PM CST
- Tuesday: Cueto (14-5, 2.52 ERA) vs Fiers (5-4, 1.88 ERA) – 8:10 PM EST / 7:10 PM CST
- Wednesday: Latos (10-3, 3.94 ERA) vs Wolf (3-8, 5.57 ERA) 2:10 PM EST / 1:10 PM CST
The Brewers will definitely have their hands full in this series, especially going up against the toughest part of the Reds’ rotation. Good luck to the Reds, but as always, go Brew Crew!
Tags: Aramis Ramirez Aroldis Chapman Brandon Phillips Bronson Arroyo Cincinnati Reds Corey Hart Francisco Rodriguez Jay Bruce Joey Votto John Axford Johnny Cueto Jonathan Broxton Jonathan Lucroy Kameron Loe Marco Estrada Mark Rogers Mat Latos Mike Fiers Milwaukee Brewers Norichika Aoki Randy Wolf Rickie Weeks Ryan Braun Sean Marshall Series Six Pack Shaun Marcum Yovani Gallardo Zack Cozart