The Cincinnati Reds are in Milwaukee tonight to try and play spoiler for their fellow National League Central squad, the Brewers. Entering play today the Brewers are just 1.5 games back of the Colorado Rockies for the second and final wild-card spot in the National League. The term must-win gets thrown around a lot in baseball, but tonight is the definition of must-win, as the Brewers must win and get some help in Colorado where the Rockies are playing the Miami Marlins if they are going to have any real shot of making the playoffs this year. The Brewers will look to Brandon Woodruff (2-2 3.76 ERA) to get the job done tonight. The Reds will counter with Homer Bailey (5-9 6.96 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST from Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Cincinnati Reds +141 at Milwaukee Brewers -162
Brandon Woodruff (2-2 3.76 ERA) vs Homer Bailey (5-9 6.96 ERA)
First pitch is at 5:10 PM PST for this game but you can bet the Brew Crew will be glued to their TV sets watching the early game from Colorado that starts at 12:10 PM PST. The schedule down the stretch would appear to lean slightly the Brewers way as they will be facing the Reds the next two games and then play three against a St. Louis Cardinals team that could be already eliminated from postseason contention by the time that series begins. Meanwhile, the Rockies will host the one seed in the National League, the Dodgers for three games. The Cardinals who can’t be completely discounted from this race, as they are only 2.5 games back themselves, play the Cubs for two more and then host Milwaukee for what could be a playoff deciding series.
It is looking like a very exciting finish in the National League to see who gets to make the wild card and get slaughtered by Zack Greinke and the Arizona Diamondbacks in a one-game playoff! For the Brewers, tonight there is no room for error, and they will be doing everything they can to get the win and keep the season alive. For the must-win game, the Brewers will turn to untested rookie Brandon Woodruff.
Woodruff just joined the Brewers starting rotation in August, and his results have been a mixed bag. In his first four starts of his Major League career, Woodruff looked like a diamond in the “ruff” as he was 1-1 with a 1.52 ERA. And that run was against some heavy competition as he faced the Washington Nationals, the Colorado Rockies, and the Minnesota Twins, all teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. It was a great start for the young right-hander and a needed boost to this Milwaukee rotation. Then reality set in and over the course of his last three starts things have gotten tougher. He is 1-1 with an ERA over five in his last three games and has struggled to get deep into games. The Brewers will need Woodruff’s best performance from him tonight.
The Reds have had another wasted season. Finishing last in their division and close to having the worst record in the National League it has been a rough run for Cincy as they continue to waste the prime seasons of one of baseballs most underrated talents in Joey Votto. The veteran first baseman and MVP vote getter is having yet another strong season for the Reds. Votto has 35 homers and with a couple more down the stretch could end up beating his career high of 37 before the season is all said and done. It’s sad to see one of baseball’s great talents stuck on a team that is rarely, if ever, in contention. Votto will try and help his team play spoiler tonight in this one.
The Reds will start Homer Bailey tonight as they try and ruin the Brewers playoff hopes. Bailey has never really been any good and has lived up to his Homer name this year as he is giving up the long ball at one of the highest rates of his career. Bailey’s 6.96 ERA is amongst the highest of any starter in the National League. Bailey hasn’t been good all year, and I don’t expect him to be any good in this one either.
The Brewers are going to scrap and claw and do whatever it takes to win this game tonight. Luckily for them, they are playing a terrible team with an even worse starting pitcher on the mound in Homer Bailey. I’m not exactly sure what we are going to get out of Woodruff as he has been so up and down but I know he will be on a short leash and if he doesn’t have his best stuff they will pull him and look to patch together some innings out of the bullpen. Yeah, the Reds would love to play the spoiler in this one, but nowhere near as much as the Brewers would like to keep their playoff dreams alive. And for that reason, I have to back the Brew Crew tonight. They are the better team, with the better starting pitcher, and have everything to play for. Give me the Brewers as favorites tonight.
Today’s Pick: Brewers -159