The Cincinnati Reds will look to gain a little momentum back when they hit the road for a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers starting on Monday. In their last series with their National League Central rival, the Reds won three of four but have gone 3-9 since and have fallen nine games off the pace in the NL Central race.
Cincinnati is seven games behind the second Wild Card spot in the National League, which is currently held by the Brewers. Milwaukee is just a half-game behind Washington in the Wild Card standings and has moved up to two games behind the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central lead.
The moneyline for this contest has the Cincinnati Reds +110 and the Milwaukee Brewers -120. The over/under has been set at 9.
The Reds will open the series with Sonny Gray on the mound, and they probably couldn’t have picked a better pitcher to go with to try to start a winning streak. Gray has been solid over his last four starts, dropping his ERA from 4.03 to its current 3.40, and going 2-1 over that span. On the season, Gray is 5-6 in 19 starts, striking out 120 and walking 36 in 103 1/3 innings. Part of that four-game span was a start against Milwaukee in which he went eight innings and didn’t allow a run, giving up just four hits while striking out 12 and walking one.
Cincinnati has struggled to score over its last seven games, averaging 4.2 runs, though 11 of those runs came in a loss to St. Louis. Outfielder Yasiel Puig has been heating up in July, batting .361 with five home runs and 14 RBI. His 22 home runs on the season are just behind team leader Eugenio Suarez’s 24. Suarez also leads the team in RBI with 60.
Trying To Stay Hot
The Brewers will look to build on a two-game winning streak by sending Chase Anderson to the mound to start this game. Anderson is 5-2 on the year with a 3.96 ERA, with 14 of his 19 appearances this season being starts. Anderson is coming off a solid outing in which he went 5 2/3 innings against Atlanta, giving up no runs and just one hit while striking out three to pick up his fifth win.
The Brewers’ bats have been hot as they’ve won five of their last six, with Milwaukee averaging 7.5 runs over that span. Christian Yelich continues to be the team leader in almost all offensive categories, including batting average (.337), home runs (35), RBI (76), hits (115) and runs scored (76). Mike Moustakas provides solid support, batting .320 with a home run, two doubles and six RBI over the past week.
Brewers Take Opener
Cincinnati is in need of a win desperately, and they have a hot pitcher taking the mound in Gray. But Milwaukee’s bats have been hot lately, and the Brewers’ starter is pitching very well also. This one will likely be a low-scoring affair, but I like Milwaukee -120 to earn the win.