The National League Central Division is crowded, and the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds are both in that mix. Milwaukee and Cincinnati have been struggling, but this series will give each team a chance to turn things around.
Milwaukee brings a record of 21-22 in, and it has slipped to third place in the division. The Brewers have gone 1-5 in their last six games, and injuries have played a role in the slide.
The Reds were just swept in a four-game series at home by the San Francisco Giants, and are 19-23. Cincinnati suffered a 19-4 loss in the series finale, prompting manager David Bell to say, “Those are not fun to be a part of.”
The Milwaukee Brewers are the sportsbook favorites at -115 in the series opener.
Milwaukee Must Score
The Brewers have not been a good offensive team, and are near the bottom of MLB in most offensive categories. Star outfielder Christian Yelich has been hurt much of the season, and there hasn’t been anyone else stepping up.
Milwaukee is slugging just .355, and the Brewers don’t hit many home runs. The Brewers will be playing in a hitter-friendly park this weekend, and it could give them a chance to get some offense going.
The Brewers have pitched the ball well all season long, and that has allowed them to stay in the playoff race. Adrian Houser has gone just 3-4 with a 3.63 ERA, but Milwaukee has some big arms in the bullpen ready to go.
Pitching Failing the Reds
The Reds are the exact opposite of the Brewers as it has been the pitching staff that has let this team down. Cincinnati has gotten eight quality starts, and the Reds have a team ERA of 4.79.
Jeff Hoffman starts for the Reds and is 2-3 with a 4.67 ERA. If the Reds are going to win the series opener, then they will have to do it with their offense.
Outfielder Nick Castellanos leads the Reds with a .347 average to go along with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs. Cincinnati was a great offensive team to begin the year, but those bats have cooled off considerably.
Reds Finally Score Some Runs
The Reds’ offense really struggled in the series against the San Franciso Giants, but it should be a much better weekend at the plate. This team is missing a key bat with the injury to Joey Votto, but there is still plenty of power in that lineup.
Milwaukee continues to get great work from the starting rotation, but they just don’t score enough runs to be trusted. The Brewers have really struggled of late, and facing a division rival on the road won’t help anything.
Cincinnati is too good offensively to continue to struggle, and those bats are going to break out in this game. Taking the Reds to win by at least two is tempting, but the best online bet is to take Cincinnati +105 to snap the losing streak.