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

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 29: Aristides Aquino #44 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts as he rounds the bases. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 29: Aristides Aquino #44 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts as he rounds the bases. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Aristides Aquino #44 of the Cincinnati Reds steps into the batters' box.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 07: Aristides Aquino #44 of the Cincinnati Reds steps into the batters’ box. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images) /

Aristides Aquino could play a pivotal role as the Reds’ season unfolds.

The emergence of centerfielder Tyler Naquin has solved several issues for the Cincinnati Reds this season. First, it’s provided another slugging left-handed bat in the lineup to complement fellow lefties Joey Votto and Jesse Winker. Secondly, it allows manager David Bell to deploy the right-handed-hitting Aristides Aquino against left-handed pitchers.

Over the past three seasons, it’s become painfully obvious that, at best, Aquino is a platoon player, and there’s certainly value to be had inserting his powerful bat in the lineup against favorable matchups.

After missing two months following a broken bone in his hand, Aquino is finally healthy. This Milwaukee series is the perfect opportunity for him to make a significant contribution as the Brewers will throw left-handed starters at the Cincinnati lineup in the first two games of the three-game set.

In 76 career at-bats facing lefties, The Punisher has left the yard six times, and his OBP of .326  outpaces his career mark of .311. When you consider the left-handed-hitting Tyler Naquin slashes .224/.291/.372 versus southpaws, a platoon of Aristides Aquino and Tyler Naquin in centerfield is a no-brainer.

Prediction

For the first time since 2014, the Cincinnati Reds are above the .500 mark in June. However, this series will go a long way in determining just how long the Redlegs keep their head above water.

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Milwaukee has certainly been impressive over the last month, but there’s reason to believe they’re not as good as their record indicates. A run differential of +10 through 65 games reeks of a club who should be hovering around the .500 mark. Look for Milwaukee to fall closer to that standard as the Redlegs capture two of three before heading to San Diego for a four-game set.