It’s a new series coming out of the All-Star break, so we should have plenty to talk about. In fact, the Brewers haven’t played this opponent since Sunday. It’s the Cincinnati Reds, the exact same team that they faced before the All-Star break. The Brewers are playing the Reds again a week later, but this isn’t even the end of it. 10 of the 13 games against the Reds are in July, with the other series happening at the beginning of June. By the end of July, the Brewers and Reds will be done playing for the regular season.
Instead of previewing the series again, let’s look back at the previous two series between these two teams. The Brewers hold a 5-2 advantage over the Reds, which is important since the season series record will be the deciding factor in a potential tiebreaker with them.
June 2: Brewers 5, Reds 4 (11 innings)
The first meeting between the two teams this season was very eventful, to say the least. The Brewers struck first and had a 2-0 lead thanks to a Joey Wiemer home run. However, the Reds pulled back in front at 3-2 with a Jonathan India home run. Darin Ruf left the game with a right knee contusion in the third and is still on the IL. The Brewers tied it up at 3-3, then Corbin Burnes was ejected from the game after the sixth inning. The bullpens took it to the tenth inning, then both worked out of a bases-loaded jam to push it to the eleventh inning. The Brewers scored two runs in the top of the eleventh, while the Reds only got one in the bottom of the inning.
June 3: Brewers 10, Reds 8
The Brewers scored fast and furious, putting together a 10-3 lead after four innings. Colin Rea had a good start, limiting the Reds to three runs. However, the bullpen struggled. Trevor Megill allowed three runs in an inning. Bryse Wilson kept the score at 10-6, but Jake Cousins couldn’t finish the game. He allowed a run and pushed the game into a save situation, bringing in Devin Williams. Williams walked in another run but secured the Brewers win.
June 4: Brewers 5, Reds 1
Adrian Houser had his best start of the season, allowing just one run in seven innings pitched. Meanwhile, Andruw Monasterio hit a three-run home run to give the Brewers an early 3-0 lead, and Victor Caratini added a solo shot. Owen Miller brought in the other run on an RBI single.
June 5: Reds 2, Brewers 0
Andrew Abbott of the Reds made his MLB debut and shined, holding the Brewers scoreless over six innings. Julio Teheran also pitched a solid game, but the two runs he allowed ended up being too much as the Brewers offense couldn’t break through.
July 7: Brewers 7, Reds 3
The Brewers built an early 4-0 lead thanks to three straight doubles and a Joey Wiemer home run. The two sides traded runs from there, which worked in the Brewers' favor. Corbin Burnes had a solid start with two runs allowed, while the Brewers got to Andrew Abbott in their second time facing him.
July 8: Reds 8, Brewers 5
The Brewers built an early 4-1 lead, but the Reds battled back to tie the game at 4-4 and then again at 5-5. The Brewers offense couldn’t add on from there, while the Reds added on a few more runs, with Elly De La Cruz the big factor as he had a go-ahead RBI as well as three steals in a row to score another run.
July 9: Brewers 1, Reds 0
Jesse Winker put the Brewers ahead 1-0 after one inning, and that was all the scoring we saw for the game as the pitching staffs went into lockdown mode. Wade Miley pitched six scoreless with Elvis Peguero, Joel Payamps, and Devin Williams securing the win from the bullpen.
Friday, July 14 @ 6:10 p.m.: Corbin Burnes vs. Graham Ashcraft
The Brewers will turn to their top starter coming out of the All-Star Break. Burnes pitched in the first game of the Reds series last week, allowing two runs in a 7-3 win over the Reds. Burnes also pitched against the Reds on June 2. He allowed three runs in six innings before being ejected from the game.
Ashcraft is making his second start against the Brewers this season. In his first start against the Brewers on June 3, the Brewers scored ten runs off of him in four innings. He has a 6.28 ERA and 5.36 FIP over 16 starts (81 2⁄3 innings pitched) this season.
Saturday, July 15 @ 6:10 p.m.: Freddy Peralta vs. Andrew Abbott
This will be Peralta’s first time pitching against the Reds this season. In 17 career appearances (11 starts) against the Reds, he has a 3.41 ERA in 66 innings with 83 strikeouts and 21 walks. His last start was Thursday against the Cubs. He pitched 5 1⁄3 innings, allowing three runs with 10 strikeouts and 3 walks.
The Brewers have faced Abbott twice this season. The first time was his MLB debut on June 5, where he pitched six scoreless innings in a 2-0 Reds win. The Brewers had more success in their second meeting, scoring six runs off of him in 4 1⁄3 innings on Friday. Overall this season, Abbott has a 2.38 ERA and 3.86 FIP in 7 major league starts (41 2⁄3 IP).
Sunday, July 16 @ 12:40 p.m.: Adrian Houser vs. Ben Lively
Houser will make his second start against the Reds this season. He pitched against them on June 4, going seven innings with just one run allowed. In his last start on Wednesday against the Cubs, he allowed one run in five innings.
Lively has also faced the Brewers twice so far this season. In the first meeting, Lively pitched seven innings and allowed five runs on June 4. In the second meeting, Lively only allowed one run in 5 2⁄3 innings, but that one run was the difference in a 1-0 Brewers win on Sunday. Overall this season, he has a 3.83 ERA and 4.85 FIP in 10 appearances (51 2⁄3 IP).
The Brewers took two of the three games when the teams met last week. Can they do it again? I’m going to be optimistic and say they can. While the offense is the Brewers' weak point, they have shown success against the Reds. As long as the pitching can back it up, the Brewers are in good shape. I’ll predict another two of three series win, pulling this division even.