Reds vs Brewers: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 26: Curt Casali #12 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 26: Curt Casali #12 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
Cincinnati Reds
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JULY 24: Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Brewers looking for a return to normalcy.

Like many clubs, nothing has been easy for the Milwaukee Brewers (5-5) to start the 2020 season. They had last weekend’s series wiped out after several members of the St. Louis Cardinals tested positive for COVID-19 during their trip to Milwaukee. As a result, Gold Glove-winning All-Star centerfielder Lorenzo Cain decided to opt-out of the 2020 season after playing in the team’s first seven games.

While the club will certainly miss Cain, it’s also playing without former MVP and notorious Reds killer Ryan Braun. He’s currently on the 10-day IL due to an infected finger. Even though the 36-year-old left fielder is not the threat he used to be, he’s still an integral part of the Brew Crew’s lineup as evidenced by his 22 homers and .343 OBP during the 2019 season.

It’s been a struggle fo the Brewers to generate much offense to begin the season. As a club, they are slashing a paltry .206/.302/.324 with a league-worst six round-trippers entering play last night. Through their first 10 games, they have scored three runs or less five times.

Significant offensive weapons such as Christina Yelich, Keston Hiura, Justin Smoak and Omar Navarez are all hitting .235 or worse. However, outfielder Ben Gamel is off to a strong start. The 28-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder has a double, a triple and two long balls for an impressive .972 OPS through his first 23 at-bats.

However, the Beer Makers have received an excellent effort from their pitching staff. In just 80 innings, the staff has fanned 95 opposing batters. They’ve also been able to keep the bases fairly clean of opposing baserunners by producing a solid 1.163 WHIP.

In recent years, closer Josh Hader typically nails the door shut on any potential rallies while the rest of the Milwaukee bullpen has been rock solid.  Surprisingly, that has not been the case to start this season.

Of course, Hader has been his typical dominant-self and hasn’t allowed a run in his first three outings. But as a whole, the Brewers bullpen has allowed a staggering nine homers and 32 hits in just 37 innings of work.