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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers vs Cincinnati Reds

Brewers hope to extend their lead atop division against struggling Reds

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers have started their season off strong, standing atop the NL Central by 1.5 games over the Cardinals. With the struggling Reds coming to Milwaukee for a three-game set, they hope to extend their lead and create more distance between themselves and St. Louis.

Tuesday marks the start of the back half of a six-game homestand, with Brandon Woodruff facing Tyler Mahle. Milwaukee’s offense has also stepped up as of late, providing a flurry of runs in their series against the Cubs and sweeping the Pirates earlier last week. With the Brewers having won seven of their last ten games, they hold the second-best record in the National League at 15-8.

The Reds, on the other hand, have been struggling this season, winning only three games since the beginning of the season and firmly holding the worst record in Major League Baseball at 3-19. Their star first baseman Joey Votto has had an abysmal start, hitting only .122 with no home runs in 74 at-bats. He has been even worse in his last seven games, posting a .045 batting average.

This is the same trend for the majority of the Reds starting lineup, earning them amongst league-worst in batting average and OPS. Cincinnati is at the bottom of the league in nearly every hitting category, and not a single player in their starting lineup is frightening to face at the plate to this point, making these three games very winnable for an expected playoff team like the Brewers.

Probable Pitchers:

Game 1, Tuesday, 6:40 pm: Brandon Woodruff (2-1) vs Tyler Mahle (1-3)

Woodruff has had a rollercoaster of a season so far in 2022, posting a 5.30 ERA with 19 strikeouts across four starts. One bright spot is that in two home starts so far this season, he’s totaled 11 innings and allowed no runs. His last start against the Pirates at PNC Park didn’t pan out as he probably hoped, as he only pitched four innings and gave up four runs. The Reds, however, have hit .257 historically against Woodruff in the past, so it is proven that Woodruff has success against the Reds, including 26 strikeouts in 66 at-bats against current Reds’ hitters.

Tyler Mahle was expected to be a bright spot in the Reds starting rotation but has struggled early with a 6.45 ERA, including a dismal 7.27 ERA on the road. The Brewers also have had success against him, with Hunter Renfroe, Omar Narvaez and Willy Adames each hitting better than .300.

Game 2, Wednesday, 6:40 pm: Freddy Peralta (0-1) vs Vladimir Gutierrez (0-4)

Peralta has had a hard time with his command to begin the season, allowing nine runs in his first two starts. He has been better in his last two, however, allowing only one run to the Phillies and throwing a shutout through six innings against the Pirates. Freddy will look to continue his recent success at American Family Field where he has a whopping 18.00 ERA to this point.

Gutierrez has also not been great, losing his first four starts this season with a 7.41 ERA. He has had some success against Milwaukee hitting, with the Brewers having a cumulative average of .135 against him. One Brewer that has had success against Gutierrez is Christian Yelich, who has three hits in seven at-bats.

Game 3, Thursday, 12:40 pm: Adrian Houser (2-2) vs Hunter Greene (1-3)

Houser has been fantastic to open the season and is providing more than what most would expect from a fourth starter. He has an ERA of 2.53 and he only gave up two hits in his last outing against the Cubs. He will look to continue his success against a struggling Reds offense that has difficulty scoring runs. He has pitched even better at home, allowing only one run across two starts in Milwaukee.

Greene was looked at as one of the league’s premier pitching prospects, but his season has turned out much like the other Reds starting pitchers. The 22-year-old has a 6.00 ERA and has allowed at least three runs in each of his four starts, including four earned against the Rockies on Friday. He has not faced the Brewers yet in his career, so Milwaukee hitters will not know what to expect from the young righty, but many other teams have been able to figure him out and score off of him on a consistent basis.