Reds vs Brewers: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 27: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during game one of a doubleheader at Miller Park on August 27, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Several sporting leagues across the nation are resuming their schedules after player walkouts done in protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha, Wisconsin police. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 27: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during game one of a doubleheader at Miller Park on August 27, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Several sporting leagues across the nation are resuming their schedules after player walkouts done in protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha, Wisconsin police. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Jedd Gyorko #5 of the Milwaukee Brewers in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 27: Jedd Gyorko #5 of the Milwaukee Brewers in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Power hitting veteran is enjoying Milwaukee

Following a disappointing 2019 season, Jedd Gyorko’s career was at a crossroads. Slashing just .174/.248/.250 in 92 at-bats between the Cardinals and Dodgers, Gyorko had to wonder if his career might be over at age 31 and eight big league seasons. However, the Brewers decided to take a chance on the veteran infielder this past January and needless to say it’s paid dividends.

Beginning play Sunday, Gyorko is setting career highs in average, on-base percentage and slugging. In 88 at-bats this season he’s slashing .284/.369/.580 with eight homers and 16 RBIs. His current 149 OPS+ is also a career-best. How has Gyorko turned in such an impressive 2020 following his nightmarish 2019 campaign?

For starters, he’s abusing left-handed pitching. Producing a slash line of .275/.423/.700 with an incredible 1.123 OPS, five of Gyorko’s 11 hits against southpaws have left the yard. Next, you do not want to fall behind in the count to Gyorko. When the West Virginia native gets ahead, he makes the opposition pay.

Slashing .481/.634/1.222, Gyorko has six homers and a 1.856 OPS that would make Babe Ruth jealous. However, it’s a different story when Gyorko falls behind. He’s a completely different hitter when the pitcher establishes control of the count.

Hitting just .130 with a .125 OBP Gyorko is almost an automatic out. My advice to the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff is to establish strike one and put Gyorko on the defensive. That should not be a problem for Castillo, Gray and Bauer.

Thorough his eight-year career, Jedd Gyorko has found GABP to be a house of horrors. In any ballpark where he’s played more than five games, his .146 batting average in the Queen City is the lowest of his career. Hitting just two home runs in 82 at-bats at GABP, Gyorko has also fanned 22 times and collected only six bases on balls. Here’s to history repeating itself.