Milwaukee Brewers (52-36) vs. Cincinnati Reds (44-42)
Sunday, July 6, 2014: 1:10 p.m. at Great American Ball Park
The surrogate ace of the Brewers’ staff for the past five seasons, regardless of his performance, Gallardo has been viewed as the best pitcher in the Milwaukee rotation. The club holds a $13 million team option for next season that seems unlikely to be picked up, so the second half of this year becomes imperative for Gallardo to lead the only club he has ever known back to the Postseason.
Twice already this season the Redlegs have gotten up close and personal with Gallardo, having split the two encounters. The more recent exchange took place on June 14 in Milwaukee, where Gallardo was narrowly outdueled by Latos, but was saved from a loss by his offense.
His last time on the hill, the Colorado Rockies delivered a beatdown, mashing him for 10 hits and eight runs (five earned) in just five innings pitched.
As the Reds learned yesterday with Matt Garza, regardless of how poorly a starter has thrown coming into the contest, virtually all the arms in the Brewers rotation are capable of going the distance and shutting down the bats, even inside Great American.
It has been a long time coming for Mat Latos, who finally has returned to a sense of normalcy after his reinsertion to the Cincinnati Reds rotation. Completely healthy coming off elbow and knee surgeries, Latos has not missed a beat in his short stint thus far in 2014.
June 14 was his first start of the season against these very same Brewers, and he dominated. Going six innings and allowing only two hits, Latos would strike out four and put himself in position to win his first game back. Unfortunately, the bullpen could not pull through.
The last time out for Latos was comically unfair. Allowing only a single and a walk in seven innings of work, Latos picked up his first loss of the season as the San Diego Padres squeaked out a 1-0 win.
Much in the same way that the front two games of this series were important, the rubber match looms large. With a win, the Reds gain a game; with a loss, they lose a game.
Both Gallardo and Latos are familiar with their opposition; it will come down to which offense has the power to win on a Sunday afternoon.