Reds vs Brewers: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds forces out Keston Hiura. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds forces out Keston Hiura. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – AUGUST 08: Freddy Galvis #3 of the Cincinnati Reds turns a double play. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – AUGUST 08: Freddy Galvis #3 of the Cincinnati Reds turns a double play. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The reeling Reds visit Milwaukee for the final time during the 2020 season.

Following last year’s disappointing offensive performance, the Cincinnati Reds (11-15) front office was determined to address the issue. Shogo Akiyama, Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas all signed free agent deals in an attempt to bolster the woeful offense. Unfortunately, despite the recognizable names and history of success, an argument can be made the offense is worse than ever.

Entering play Sunday, the Reds were last in the National League with an anemic .210 team batting average. An interesting side note is that the five teams comprising the NL Central occupy the bottom five spots in batting average among all NL clubs. Cincinnati is also below league average in on-base percentage and slugging. How can this be?

What makes the issue so exasperating is that the numbers are horrid through nearly every position in the lineup. The only two spots in the order hitting above .208 entering play yesterday were the No. 5 and No. 9 holes.

Jesse Winker is the man most responsible for the success of the No. 5 spot in the batting order with a sizzling .524 mark in that position, while  Kyle Farmer is hitting a blistering .476 in 23 plate appearances at the tail end of the lineup.

Elsewhere the numbers are simply nausea-inducing. Leadoff hitters are batting .198 with a dreadful .304 OBP mark. Even though he’s only hitting .234 leading off, Akiyama has been head and shoulder above Philip Ervin and Joey Votto who have produced .176 and .167 averages respectively from the leadoff position.

Another black hole for the offense has been the spot traditionally inhabited by a team’s best hitter. With the exception of Castellanos, the No. 3 hole has been an abyss for Reds hitters. Eugenio Suárez, Votto and Winker have hit from the third position in the order 21 times this season and all three are hitting .185 or worse when occupying that spot in the lineup. If the Reds want to entertain serious playoff aspirations, the offense needs to start producing immediately.