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Brewers (53-74) vs Reds (52-74) series preview

This weekend series is an important one in the race for better draft position.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds and Brewers are separated by a mere half game with the Crew currently on top. Both teams have been extremely bad this year and after the trade deadline it's a neck and neck race for who is worse. Despite having a half game lead the Brewers run differential is 11 runs worse than the Reds. So maybe they can win the race for the better position in next year's draft.

Offensively the Reds have been the better team on the season. Their 91 wRC+ is 6% better than the Brewers. Surprisingly though since the trade deadline that saw the Brewers ship Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra they've outperformed the Reds by a significant margin. The Brewers 88 wRC+ is right around their season average but Cincy has dropped to a 76 wRC+.

The two teams have had similarly poor production from their rotations. On the season the Reds rotation is sporting a 4.31 ERA and 4.43 FIP. The Brewers rotation has a 4.63 ERA and 4.38 FIP. Things have gotten worse for both teams since the trade deadline that saw both teams' most productive pitcher (Mike Fiers and Johnny Cueto respectively) change teams. The Reds have a 5.43 ERA and 4.89 FIP while the Brewers have a 5.82 ERA and 4.78 FIP.

The Brewers bullpen has easily been better than the Reds this year despite the presence of Aroldis Chapman. The Brewers bullpen has combined for a 3.56 ERA and 3.56 FIP on the season. The Reds have a 3.72 ERA and 3.91 FIP. Fortunes have reversed for the Brewers since the trade deadline though. In August the bullpen has been dinged for a 4.11 ERA and 4.48 FIP. The Reds on the other had have been good for a 2.09 ERA and 3.90 FIP.

It's hard to say which team is worse right now. The Brewers have the edge in hitting and the Reds in pitching. Given the offenses and looking at the pitching match-ups I'd say the Brewers probably have the better chance at taking this series. But that's mostly because neither team looks like it has the edge as far as their starting pitching goes.

Offensive Spotlight

Joey Votto is still amazing if you didn't already know. He is hitting 305/447/545 with 27 home runs. He is also walking (20.0 %) more than he's striking out (18.3%). It pains me to think that there are probably still Reds fans that are frustrated that he isn't "swinging the bat more" or whatever it is they complain about with Votto. It's stupefying to me that any Reds fan could ever find a way to complain about this guy. But I suppose it was the same in Milwaukee when fans would complain about Carlos Gomez getting thrown out on the bases or swinging too much. Some people just can't see the forest for the trees and others just need to complain about something.

Pitching Match-Ups

Friday August 28, 7:10 pm CST: Taylor Jungmann vs Rasiel Iglesias

Iglesias: 73.1 IP, 25.3 K%, 6.9 BB%, .227 BAA, 1.15 WHIP, 0.86 HR/9, 44.3 GB%, 3.93 ERA, 3.41 FIP

Saturday August 29, 6:10 pm CST: Matt Garza vs Keyvius Sampson

Sampson: 24.1 IP, 19.5 K%, 9.7 BB%, .294 BAA, 1.68 WHIP, 1.48 HR/9, 39.2 GB%, 5.55 ERA, 4.81 FIP

Sunday August 30, 1:10 pm CST: Wily Peralta vs John Lamb

Lamb: 16.1 IP, 28.0 K%, 6.7 BB%, .319 BAA, 1.65 WHIP, 1.65 HR/9, 26.1 GB%, 6.06 ERA, 4.04 FIP

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs