While the Brewers are still one of the hottest teams in baseball right now and are coming off a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Reds aren’t far behind. They treated last week’s series loss in Milwaukee as just a bump in the road, responding by sweeping the woeful Colorado Rockies in Cincinnati over the weekend. They come into this week above .500 at 32-31, 5 games behind the Brewers and Cubs for first place in the NL Central.
The Reds can hit, as we covered last week. The good news for the Brewers is we won’t have to grit our teeth through any Adrian Houser vs. Jesse Winker at-bats in this go-around, but he continued to hit well after leaving Milwaukee last week, going 3-for-10 with 2 walks, 2 doubles, 2 runs driven in and 2 runs scored.
Nick Castellanos is also still on a tear, too, clubbing the Rockies by going 5-for-12 with 2 doubles and 5 runs scored himself. We also saw Joey Votto’s bat start to come to life by the end of last week’s series, and that momentum carried through the weekend, as he collected hits in all three games, including a 2-hit, 2-RBI game on Saturday.
Even after the Brewers held them to just 10 runs over their three games last week, Cincinnati still ranks 7th in the majors in runs scored, 4th in on-base percentage and 4th in slugging percentage.
The Probable Pitchers
Rookie Vladimir Gutierrez gets another go-around against the Brewers tonight after beating them in a 7-3 Reds win in his last start. The 102 pitches and 7 innings he threw last Wednesday night were both career highs, so we’ll have to see how he responds. As we noted in last week’s series preview, too, he’s been tough to score against even outside of his start against the Brewers. He’ll face off against Eric Lauer, who is once again serving as the Brewers’ 6th starter during this stretch of 16 days without a day off.
Luis Castillo gets the ball in game two for another start against the Crew, coming off a good-but-weird start against them last week. He set down 15 straight batters at one point and allowed just 1 hit over 5.2 innings, but was still charged with 3 runs. He’s now given up a league-leading 46 earned runs in 64 innings. Opposing him, Brett Anderson will look to get back into a groove against the tough Cincinnati lineup.
Tyler Mahle will make the start in the series finale Wednesday afternoon against Freddy Peralta, who’s coming off a rain-shortened start. Mahle was on a bit of a roll over his last few starts, dropping his ERA from 4.20 to 3.32, before giving up 4 runs over 6 innings the Rockies in his last start on Friday. This will be his first start against the Brewers this year, but they have historically hit him well, tagging him with a 6.16 ERA — 16 runs (13 earned) in 19 innings — in 4 career starts before this year.