We have a full slate of Major League Baseball action on tap for today, as we have sixteen games on the schedule. MLB has announced a series of double-headers to try and catch up on some of the canceled games, and we will see one of those today as the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays play a double feature.
Other headlining games from around baseball include games between the Astros and A’s, Indians and White Sox, and Braves and Phillies. For our daily betting pick, we will head to Milwaukee, where the Brewers host the Cincinnati Reds in game two of a three-game series between two National League Central Division rivals.
Cincinnati Reds (6-8) at Milwaukee Brewers (5-6)
The Cincinnati Reds will look to make it two straight wins over the Milwaukee Brewers tonight in game two of a three-game set. The Reds rode a dominant start from Trevor Bauer last night, who threw six innings of one-run ball and struck out twelve, to a series-opening win. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Cincinnati, the last two of which saw the Reds get shutout.
For Milwaukee, the Brewers had won back to back games over the Chicago White Sox, before losing last night in the opening game of the series. The Brewers came into 2020 hoping to compete at the top of the NL Central Division but have yet to have a winning record at any point during the season, falling back to below .500 on the year, with last night’s loss.
Starting for the Brewers tonight is Brett Anderson (0-0 6.00 ERA), and for the Reds, it is Anthony DeSclafani (0-0 0.00 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Brewers are small -110 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Miller Park in Milwaukee.
The Cincinnati Reds have gotten off to a slow start, as they have suffered through some inconsistent pitching and injuries to some of their best players. Mike Moustakas has missed some time, as has starting third baseman, Matt Davidson. Eugenio Suarez, who smashed 49 home runs last season, has just one so far this season and is hitting a dreadfully bad, .091 with 16 strikeouts.
One guy that has been playing up to his standard has been the newly acquired Nick Castellanos. The Reds brought in Castellanos in the offseason on the biggest free-agent contract in franchise history. It looked like one of those buy-high moves, as Castellanos was coming off of a season in 2019, where he was much better than he had ever been in his Major League career. But that move is paying off so far in 2020, as Castellanos is leading the team in batting average (.333), RBI (13), runs (10) and home runs (6).
Anthony DeSclafani (0-0 0.00 ERA)
In my opinion, the Reds have the most underrated starting rotation in the National League. Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray are both pitching out of their minds right now with sub-one run ERAs, and while Luis Castillo hasn’t been great, he has been decent and has ace level potential. The wild card in this rotation is Anthony DeSclafani. DeSclafani has shown flashes of being very good in his five-year career for the Reds.
In two out of the last three years he had an ERA of under four runs and has been a serviceable middle of the rotation guy for Cincinnati. The big issue that has kept DeSclafani from living up to his potential, has been home runs. DeSclafani got blasted for 29 home runs last year in 31 starts and was even worse in 2018, when he gave up 24 home runs in only 21 starts. If he can keep the ball in the ballpark, he has potential to be an elite starting pitcher.
I don’t know exactly what to think of this Milwaukee Brewers team. They have led in most of their games this season, but their once-vaunted bullpen, has blown leads in several games, and the Brewers 5-6 record is underwhelming, to say the least. David Phelps and Josh Hader have been great, as they always are, but the rest of the bullpen has been very shaky for Milwaukee.
The Brewers have really struggled to hit for power, as they have just ten home runs in eleven games this season. Even former NL MVP, Christian Yelich, isn’t hitting for power right now, as he is tied for the team lead in long balls, with only two on the year, and is hitting just .125. Yelich is joined by fellow starters Justin Smoak, Logan Morrison, and Omar Narvaez as guys hitting under .200 right now for Milwaukee.
Brett Anderson (0-0 6.00 ERA)
The Brewers have kept a tight leash on most of their starting rotation this season. In Brett Anderson’s first start of the year, he pitched just three innings, allowing two runs, both earned, and the Brewers lost the game. While he wasn’t pitching great, he did allow five hits in those three innings, he only threw 52 pitches and had plenty left in the gas tank if Milwaukee wanted to keep him out there.
In that game, the Brewers went to their bullpen early and saw them give up four more runs, and they lost the game 6-4. That has been a trend we have seen a lot of this season for Milwaukee. They go to the bullpen early and often, and the results have not been great. Anderson is a pitch to contact type of pitcher that doesn’t strike out many guys and forces a lot of ground balls. He tends to keep his pitch count down and works efficiently on the mound.
The Brewers have stubbornly kept going to their bullpen early on, even when their starter is pitching well, as they pitched nine innings in the last two games combined. It will be interesting to see how long Anderson stays in the game tonight.
Who Do I Like?
We saw what Anthony DeSclafani is capable of when he doesn’t give up a home run, in his first start of the year, where he pitched five shutout innings against the Detroit Tigers. Last year he had thirteen starts where he did not get taken deep. In those thirteen starts, the Reds went 8-5, and he allowed just nine earned runs in seventy innings pitched. That is a 1.16 ERA.
He is a beast on the mound when he can keep the ball in the ballpark. And when you look at the Brewers, they have basically zero power right now. The team slugging percentage is an anemic .344. If they can’t find a way to take Anthony DeSclafani deep, I don’t know how they are going to manage to score any runs.
I think Anthony DeSclafani takes advantage of this weak-hitting Brewers team tonight, and has a strong start, and leads his team to victory. Brett Anderson is never going to blow anyone’s hair back, and even at his best, he needs guys to swing at bad pitches and make soft contact, to get hitters out.
The Reds are third in the National League in home runs, and I think they find a way to put up enough runs on the board tonight to win this game. Anderson will likely be gone by the fifth inning, and this bullpen is overworked, and I expect them to struggle again tonight against the Reds. Give me the Cincinnati Reds tonight, as road underdogs, in game two against the Brewers!