Reds vs. Brewers: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 08: Omar Narvaez #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers tags out Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 08: Omar Narvaez #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers tags out Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Manager David Bell of the Cincinnati Reds relieves Sonny Gray #54 in the fifth inning.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – APRIL 17: Manager David Bell of the Cincinnati Reds relieves Sonny Gray #54 in the fifth inning. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Brewers

Reds manager David Bell hands the ball to Jeff Hoffman (2-3 4.67 ERA) to kick off the series opposing Adrian Houser (3-4 3.63 ERA) of the Brewers. How bad has it been for Hoffman recently? The Reds right-hander has not completed five innings since April 22nd.

If Hoffman had tossed enough innings, his WHIP of 1.500 would rank as the fifth-highest among NL starters. Over his last 14.1 frames, he’s allowed 25 runners to reach via a hit or base on balls. I’m not sure how long the leash is for Hoffman, but one has to believe it’s getting awfully short at this point.

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Milwaukee right-hander Adrian Houser is coming off a brutal start courtesy of the Atlanta Braves. Completing three innings, he allowed two hits and a season-high five free passes. If there’s one hitter who gives Houser nightmares, it’s Jesse Winker. He has five hits in 10 at-bats versus Houser, including three round-trippers. Eugenio Suarez has also taken Houser deep twice in 11 trips to the dish.

Sonny Gray (0-3 3.86 ERA) gets another chance at that elusive first victory as he battles veteran left-hander Brett Anderson (2-3 4.50 ERA) Saturday afternoon. By no means has Gray been terrible this year, but he’s not been the consistent source of greatness Reds Country has been accustomed to seeing.

Making six starts on the season, Gray has failed to complete five innings three times. In his previous two years in Cincinnati, Gray failed to work five frames in only six of his 42 starts. Hopefully, the sight of the Brewers will unleash the Sonny Gray magic.

In his last two starts against Milwaukee, he’s allowed just one run in 10 innings while recording a dozen strikeouts. Brewers outfielder Avisail Garcia will probably be begging manager Craig Counsell for a day off Saturday. The right-handed slugger has just one hit in 18 at-bats versus Gray.

If Wade Miley had a twin, it would be Milwaukee’s, Brett Anderson. The southpaw will never light up the radar gun, but he’s lasted 13 years in the majors by keeping hitters off balance; just ask the Reds’ Kyle Farmer. Cincinnati’s jack of all trades is 1-for-9 lifetime in his battles with the 33-year-old left-hander.

Sunday’s matinee series finale will feature Luis Castillo (1-6 7.44 ERA) squaring off against the Brewers’ Freddy Peralta (4-1 2.40 ERA). If there was ever a mismatch on paper, this would be it.

Castillo leads the NL in losses, hits allowed, and earned runs. On the other hand, Freddy Peralta allows the fewest hits per nine innings, and his 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings mark leads the senior circuit.

Granted, La Piedra’s last start was better, as evidenced by the season-high 11 punchouts, but there’s much work to be done. He still managed to work just five frames and allowed six hits, and issued three bases on balls. Let’s slow our roll on the old Luis Castillo being back.

One team Castillo racks up punchouts against is the Milwaukee Brewers. His 86 careers K’s versus the Brew Crew are his most against any team. This is not news to the Brewers’ Travis Shaw. The son of former Redleg, Jeff Shaw, has fanned five times in 14 at-bats when facing La Piedra.

You don’t have to tell Cincinnati how nasty Freddy Peralta can be. In his last start against the Reds in April of 2019, he allowed just two hits while recording 11 strikeouts in eight shutout frames.  The 25-year-old right-hander wears out Eugenio Suarez. Geno has managed just two singles in 13 career at-bats versus the Milwaukee hurler.