The Cincinnati Reds have virtually clinched last place in the NL Central — they’re 11 games behind Pittsburgh with 12 games left to play — but they are still a team that can put a damper on someone’s playoff hopes.
The Chicago Cubs were able to survive a series against the Reds over the weekend, taking 2 of 3 from Cincinnati, but it wasn’t easy — all three games were decided by a single run, including a 1-0 win in the middle game of the series.
Despite the low-scoring weekend in Chicago, this is a lineup that can still score a lot of runs, as we saw last month in that ridiculous 13-12 game in which Christian Yelich hit for the cycle and went 6-for-6.
Scooter Gennett is making a push for a batting title with a .318/.365/.499 line, adding 22 home runs and 29 doubles and totaling 4.6 fWAR. Eugenio Suarez would be an MVP candidate if his team played in more high-profile games (and if the NL MVP field wasn’t so crowded this year), hitting .287/.372/.537 with 32 home runs and 101 RBI. The ageless Joey Votto is currently hitting .288/.423/.432 with 27 doubles and claims to have found a fix in his swing that will allow him to hit for more power over the final couple weeks, which is just great news for a Brewers pitching staff that has occasionally struggled with the long ball.
Monday - 6:40 p.m. CDT
Anthony DeSclafani vs. Wade Miley
Tuesday - 6:40 p.m. CDT
Michael Lorenzen vs. Chase Anderson
Wednesday - 6:40 p.m. CDT
Matt Harvey vs. Gio Gonzalez
The Brewers faced DeSclafani on August 28th, and he pitched into the 7th, leaving the game with 2 earned runs and 2 men on base before Christian Yelich hit a three-run home run off Jared Hughes to add 2 more earned runs to his linescore in a game the Reds eventually won 9-7. He’s coming off a rough outing against the Dodgers in which LA chased him in the 5th inning, allowing 6 runs (5 earned) in a start where he struggled with his control, allowing a total of 8 baserunners in 4.2 innings.
Lorenzen is making his first start of the year after working exclusively as a reliever the past few seasons. Lorenzen has done plenty of damage against the Brewers this year, but it’s been with his bat, hitting 3 home runs this season, driving in 8 runs. While the second game of the series could end up being a virtual bullpen game for the Reds, Lorenzen has gone as many as 4.1 innings in a relief outing this year, so he does have the ability to pitch deeper than than you’d expect from someone who has pitched in relief all year.
The Brewers roughed up Harvey for 5 runs on 11 hits in just 4 innings in that stupidly wild 13-12 Milwaukee win on August 29th. Since then, Harvey has settled down a bit, tossing a quality start against the Pirates his next time out and then striking out 10 Padres over 6 innings on September 8th. He shut out the Cubs over 6 innings, striking out 6 and allowing just 4 hits in his last start.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference