The Milwaukee Brewers are just one game back of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central heading into Friday’s matchup.
The Brewers have ace Corbin Burnes (7-5, 3.94 ERA) on the mound in this game as he looks to build on what was a strong finish to the first half of the season. Burnes made two starts in July prior to the All-Star break, leading the Brewers to two wins and allowing just four hits and four runs in 13.0 innings of work.
He takes on Cincinnati Reds young righty Graham Ashcraft (4-6, 6.28 ERA) who also closed the first half strong, allowing just two runs across 12.2 innings of work.
I’m not completely sold on Ashcraft, who has been up and down this season, but can he lead Cincy to a win at home?
Here are the odds and my best bet for this NL Central clash:
Brewers vs. Reds odds, run line and total
Brewers vs. Reds prediction and pick
In previous seasons, blindly backing Burnes in his starts would be a solid strategy, but he hasn’t been at his peak form in 2023.
Still, I think he's the pitcher to trust in this matchup. Ashcraft has been inconsistent all season, and he had a eight-start stretch where he may have been the worst pitcher in baseball.
Graham Ashcraft’s numbers in 2023 are concerning
- First six starts: 2-0 (2.00 ERA)
- Next eight starts: 1-6 (12.82 ERA)
- Last two starts: 1-0 (1.42 ERA)
While it looks like Ashcraft could be turning things around, his advanced numbers tell us otherwise.
The Reds righty has a 4.31 Fielding Independent Pitching in his last two starts, as he’s allowed 10 hits and five walks. He’s been able to work out of trouble, but it’s a little unsustainable if he keeps allowing so many baserunners.
Burnes has a much more proven track record, and I expected the Brewers offense (which has been better against righties) to get to Ashcraft in this game.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.