I try not to look at the standings until the end of May.
It's not an ignorance-is-bliss kind of thing (although maybe in recent years it's been a nice side effect), but it really takes a couple of months for things to sort themselves out in baseball. Looking at the standings a week and a half into a season doesn't tell us much.
With that said, holy crap, the Cincinnati Reds are in first place.
The Brewers continue their first road trip of the season following a two-game sweep of Toronto with a trip to Cincinnati, where things always seem to go terribly wrong. This time, they face a Reds team that has won 7 of 9. It's Cincinnati's best start since 1990, and they're coming off a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh in which none of the games were particularly close.
The Reds have hit better than expected to start the year, with Eugenio Suarez, Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton all getting off to hot starts.
Former Brewer and ‘Man Who Will Definitely Homer In This Series’ Scooter Gennett is also doing pretty well for himself, hitting .263/.300/.789 (!!!) in 7 games, leading the team with 8 RBI despite only 19 at-bats. His three home runs and a double account for 4 of his 5 hits to start the year.
At least Jay freaking Bruce is gone.
Tuesday, 6:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Jimmy Nelson vs. Bronson Arroyo
SERIOUSLY, I THOUGHT WE WERE DONE WITH BRONSON ARROYO FOREVER. At 40 years old, he returns after two seasons away from the majors to torment the Brewers once again. His first start of the season didn't go well -- 4 innings, 6 earned runs and 2 home runs surrendered with 3 walks -- but Arroyo could lose a leg and still shut down the Brewers for 6 innings, based on history.
(He actually has a career 3.54 ERA against the Brewers in 203.1 painfully frustrating innings, which feels like it should be at least one run lower)
Friday, 6:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Tommy Milone vs. Scott Feldman
Feldman was actually Cincinnati's Opening Day starter this year, and it did not go well. He bounced back in his second outing to shut down the Cardinals, throwing 6 shutout innings and striking out 6 while only allowing 4 hits. The velocity for the 34-year-old is down a touch to start the year, with his fastball averaging 89.9 mph, but that hasn't hurt his strikeout numbers (and the Brewers will likely continue that trend). Always a flyball pitcher, Feldman's GB% is just 29.6% through his first 10 innings. While that will obviously increase as the season goes on, Great American Ballpark is a bad place to be struggling to get ground balls to start the year.
Saturday, 12:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Zach Davies vs. Brandon Finnegan
After two trips through the rotation, Finnegan leads the team in strikeouts and ERA, but is coming off an extremely short start in Pittsburgh. He lasted only 2 innings on April 10th, surrendering 5 walks and 4 hits but somehow only allowing 1 run. The Reds went on to win that game anyway, 7-1, because that's the kind of luck they've been having to start the year. His first start was much better, striking out 9 and only allowing 1 hit over 7 shutout innings. It's probably safe to assume control is hit-or-miss for Finnegan right now.
Sunday, 12:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Wily Peralta vs. TBA
The Reds have yet to announce a starter for Sunday. Someone going by the name of Rookie Davis has made two starts already for the Reds, but last pitched on Wednesday and was recently placed on the disabled list.
So we'll talk about Peralta here, who has historically done very well against the Reds, including a complete game shutout against a much different-looking Cincinnati team in 2013. The high amount of roster turnover for the Reds makes Wily's career numbers against them fairly meaningless, but his career 3.11 ERA against Cincinnati in 14 starts is his best mark against any NL Central team and is only topped by his marks against Arizona (2.70) and Atlanta (1.89) among teams he's seen more than once.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference