Nobody must be feeling better than the last few days than the Cincinnati Reds. Armed with a sweep of the Houston Astros in hand, the Reds look to extend their four-game winning streak to five in Milwaukee. While the Reds are feeling confident after beating the Astros in three games, and especially after stealing one on Wednesday, the Brewers are feeling a different type of way. The Brewers come back home after a brutal stretch on their road trip. Milwaukee lost six of eight games, which concluded by blowing a 2-run lead against the Padres on Wednesday afternoon.
The NL Central is currently a two-team race between the Cubs and Brewers, but the Reds might be able to throw their hat into the arena soon. It isn’t like anyone has really pulled away and taken an initiative in the division, so it’s still very much there for the taking.
Even if the Brewers do win the division, they are going to have a whole lot of issues getting by with their pitching in the postseason. In other words, it’s imperative that they work out a deal to get a reliable arm in their rotation. There are far too many inconsistencies for anyone to feel confident with the Brewers right now.
Conversely, the Reds have been going on a nice little run because of solid pitching. From the starters to the bullpen, everyone has been contributing. The Reds do have a solid bullpen, which is good in baseball these days, so don’t count them out in the NL Central race. That said, they still must leapfrog three teams, as they trail the Cardinals as well. As of today, the Reds are 5.5 games back of 1st, which is a lot better than you could have said last week. Head below for our free Reds vs. Brewers pick.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers Pick:
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Jimmy Nelson worked a lot of long hours to get back on a major league mound. It was a difficult journey back, after Nelson missed all of last season with a rotator cuff injury. Nelson had to have surgery and couldn’t pitch for a long while. Some guys return from serious injuries and they look the same, but a lot more struggle and never find the same stroke they had in the past. Nelson struggled in a rehab start before he even made the jump to the real show, so it might not be that big of a surprise to see him getting hammered. The Brewers are depending on him to get it figured out, though.
Nelson will be making his third outing of the season against the Reds tonight. His first two, which were against below average offenses, the Giants and Marlins, didn’t play out how he expected. Nelson was tagged for 8 earned runs in 7 innings, with 4 runs allowed in each game.
As a team, Milwaukee allowed 16 runs in total with Nelson starting. Both resulted in losses of 8-3 and 8-7. After getting drilled twice, Nelson carries a lackluster 10.29 ERA and 2.14 WHIP into the evening. The Brewers’ brass are going to begin to get concerned with Nelson if he bombs again tonight. That would make it three starts that he’s struggled with since returning. They will be left wondering what to do with him if it continues.
Tanner Roark has been a welcome addition to the Reds’ rotation in 2019. He spent the first six years of his major league career in Washington, where he was up and down with the Nationals. Roark notched a career-high ERA of 2.83 in 2016, though his ERA was above 4.00 in three of those years. He’s been somewhere in between this season.
Roark has posted an ERA of 3.63 and 1.39 WHIP up to this point. The beauty of the Reds has to be their bullpen. They are 3rd in the majors with an ERA of 3.47. Conversely, the Brewers are 14th with a 4.22 ERA. At the end of the day, laying -150 on Jimmy Nelson in this form is too much of a risk. Until he can show that he is over the surgery, Nelson is fade material. The value appears to be on the Reds on Thursday night in this spot.