Another day, another outright money line underdog winner! We picked up the win yesterday when we backed the Cincinnati Reds on the road, against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Reds had won a season-high five straight games, and despite the fact that the Brewers seem to be the much better team overall, the Reds were trailing Milwaukee by just four games in the crowded NL Central Division race. I am a firm believer in, you are what your record is, and as far as records were concerned, there just wasn’t a lot separating these two teams.
I felt that Sonny Gray was the better side of the starting pitching matchup as he has really started to settle in recently for the Reds, as they had won five out of his previous six starts. And when I looked at Brewers starter, Chase Anderson, he has been on a downhill slide for much of the past two years, and he had an ERA of nearly six runs so far in June. So, I saw this as a game that could go either way and jumped on the side getting the juice and felt good about the play.
The game itself was a high scoring affair where both starters were completely ineffective. Gray lasted just four and a third of an inning, getting smashed for four earned runs. Chase Anderson was even worse, as he gave up six runs, all earned, in just five innings. The Reds managed to pour it on late, scoring three runs in the seventh and adding on two more in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
With the win, the Reds are now all the sudden very much in the mix in the NL Central. The Reds are just three games back of Milwaukee and four and a half games back of the Chicago Cubs for first place. The Reds have won six straight games and are hoping to take the series win tonight in game three in Milwaukee.
For the Brewers, they are mired in an increasingly nasty slump as they have now lost eight out of their last ten games. For today’s pick we will stay right here in Milwaukee and break down game three between the Reds and the Brewers.
The Cincinnati Reds are in Milwaukee Saturday for game three of a four-game series with the Brewers. The Reds have taken a two games to none series lead as they have been running up the score. The Reds have scored eighteen runs in the first two games of this series. For the Brewers, they are in freefall at the moment and need to find a way to stop the bleeding before they drop to below .500 on the year.
Starting for the Reds is Luis Castillo (7-1 2.26 ERA), and for the Brewers, it is Jhoulys Chacin (3-8 5.60 ERA). The game total over-under is set at nine runs. The Brewers are -120 favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST from Miller Park in Milwaukee.
What is going on with this Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff right now? The Brewers made it all the way to game seven of the NLCS last season by having strong starting pitching, and an elite bullpen. This season, their team ERA is twelfth in the National League. Their starters ERA is over five runs, and their bullpen hasn’t been much better. They have given up twenty-six runs in their last three games and lost all three.
Today’s starter Jhoulys Chacin is a perfect example of a good thing gone wrong for Milwaukee this season. Chacin has been a reliable arm for over a decade, and last year he won fifteen games for the Brewers. But this season, he has struggled badly. His 5.60 ERA is the highest of his career, and that is saying a lot for a guy that used to pitch his home games at Coors Field.
Chacin hasn’t had a winning decision since April, and for those of you that need a reminder, it’s nearly July. In May he went 0-4 with a 6.64 ERA in five starts. After an awful month of May, the Brewers shut him down for a couple of weeks with a stiff back. He returned last week and wasn’t much better.
In his last start, he made it just four and two-thirds of an inning while throwing 108 pitches and giving up two runs. A major issue for Chacin his command as the walks are really starting to pile up. In his last three starts, spanning eleven and a third innings, he has walked ten batters. If you are giving out that many free passes, it is going to be very hard to win games.
Luis Castillo has been a pleasant surprise for the Reds this season. He showed a lot of growing pains in his first two big league seasons, but he has really emerged as a legit ace to this Reds rotation this year. His 2.26 ERA is good for third in the NL, and unlike Chacin who hasn’t had a winning decision since April, Castillo has just one losing decision on the year, coming way back on April 3rd.
Castillo has similar command issues this season as he does walk a lot of guys. But his ability to strike guys out with his plus stuff has more than made up for it. Castillo’s K/9 ratio is fifth in the league at over ten and a half. That is better than guys like Aaron Nola and Patrick Corbin. And Castillo shows no signs of slowing down as in the month of June he is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts.
This is just a bad number. The Reds opened as small favorites last night, and for some reason, everyone jumped all over the Brewers. It has shifted this line significantly to where it stands now, with the Brewers as -120 favorites. That just doesn’t make any sense. Baseball is a streaky game, and right now the Reds are playing with all kinds of confidence, with a season-high winning streak, and their ace on the mound.
The Brewers? They can’t win for losing right now, and Chacin might just get lit up today in this one. Not only do I feel that the Reds are the right side of this one, I feel strongly they should be favored. I think Castillo will be solid, and the Reds will win this one going away. The Brewers bullpen has been used and abused this week, and after Chacin gets roughed up, they won’t have anywhere to turn. Give me the Cincinnati Reds as road underdogs again today in game three from Milwaukee!