The Cincinnati Reds travel on the road to American Family Field to take on a divisional rival with the Milwaukee Brewers. Cincinnati is putting together a strong second half, one that could earn them a spot in the playoffs, and after wins in seven of their last ten games have passed the Padres for the second wild-card spot. Milwaukee has also won seven of their last ten games and has continued to extend their lead in the NL Central, after two straight wins of the Nationals now hold a 7.5 game lead with a big series.
Cincinnati is one of the best offenses in the MLB this season - they’re fifth in the league in scoring offense averaging 5.06 runs per game and fifth in team batting average hitting .252. Joey Votto has had a resurgence this season leading the team with 28 homeruns and 81 RBIs, he’s also 7th in the MLB with a .952 OPS. Nick Castellanos continues to be one of the best bats in baseball, he’s hitting .319, third in the MLB, and is 9th in the league with a .945 OPS. With those two leading the way, this is a dangerous lineup and one that could make a run at the playoffs as the season winds down.
Luis Castillo has been one of the few Reds having a disappointing season, he’s gone 7-12 with a 4.35 ERA on the year and a 1.40 WHIP. Castillo is coming off a great start against the Marlins, pitching 7 innings allowing a run on eight hits and a walk, he also struck out seven Marlins. Castillo is coming off back-to-back seasons with a sub-3.50 ERA, his 1.40 WHIP this season is a career-high and at this pace will blow away his career-high walk numbers with 60 in 144.2 innings this season.
Milwaukee has been an underwhelming offense this season hitting just .235 as a team, ranking 25th in the MLB, but some timely at-bats, patient approaches (fifth-most drawn walks in the MLB), have allowed them to score 4.67 runs per game. Most expected Christian Yelich to bounce back after a down-season and return to his MVP caliber form, it hasn’t happened as he’s hitting .247 with just 8 homeruns and 39 RBIs. It could be the injuries he’s suffered over the last two seasons, but they’ll need him to turn it on as the playoff race heats up. The best outfield bat has been Avisail Garcia who is hitting .275 with 24 homeruns and 73 RBIs, leading the team in all three categories.
The Brewers may have the best one-two starting rotation in the MLB this season and the Reds will face both, in this one it will be Brandon Woodruff. Woodruff is 7-7 this season but is top-5 in the MLB with a 2.48 ERA and fourth in the league with a 0.94 WHIP. Woodruff is coming off a tough last outing allowing six runs on eight hits in five innings in an 8-4 loss to the Cardinals. The Brewers have actually lost four of his last five starts, and he hasn’t earned a decision win since the end of June.