Rob Senior previews the Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, July 24. He provides his expert prediction as well as best bets.
Date & Time: Monday, July 24, 7:05 P.M. Eastern
Moneyline: Cincinnati Reds (+108) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (-126)
Runline: Reds +1.5 (-190)/Brewers -1.5 (+160)
Total: Over 9.5 (+100)/Under 9.5 (-120)
Where: American Family Field, Milwaukee, WI
Weather: 81 degrees, almost no chance of rain
Reds vs. Brewers: Preview and Picks
Raise your hand if you thought the Cincinnati Reds would be one of baseball’s most exciting teams this season?
The Reds (55-46) are neck-and-neck with the Brewers (55-45) for the NL Central’s top spot. The two teams are taking different paths, however, to their position in the pennant race, as we’ll find out in the next section.
Cincinnati Reds Preview
“What an offense this is going to be to watch in a few years!” was the general sentiment around Cincinnati before the 2023 season.
But the future arrived early. The addition of the most exciting piece of the lineup, Elly De La Cruz, came in early June. Cincinnati hasn’t slowed down since.
De La Cruz’s numbers have leveled off since a hot start. However, 17 steals in 40 games plus hitting for the cycle already have him among the contender for National League Rookie of the Year. One of his competitors is teammate Spencer Steer, hitting .277 with 14 homers as well as 55 RBIs.
The Reds come into the series on a five-game winning streak What’s not to like?
Pitching, that’s what! Graham Ashcraft (5-7, 5.77 ERA) gets the start Monday, and while his numbers don’t tell the whole story, there’s some concern with a low strikeout rate and a WHIP of 1.54.
However, Ashcraft is on a run of four consecutive starts of six or more innings with two or fewer earned runs allowed and faces a Milwaukee lineup that strikes out at the league’s 7th highest rate against right handers.
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Milwaukee Brewers Preview
We discussed the Brewers’ middling offense last week before they shut out Philadelphia. Since that game they’ve averaged 3.5 runs per game. Christian Yelich is starting to get his bat going. The call-up of top prospect Sal Frelick could inject some life into Milwaukee down the stretch.
But Milwaukee ranks in the bottom five in batting average as well as OPS, and the bottom third of the league in home runs and RBIs. Where do they rank highest? Offensive strikeouts, where they’re 5th in MLB, and walks, where the Brewers are 6th.
Colin Rea is pretty darn average in just about every way, as a 5-4 record and 4.64 ERA would suggest. He is, however, backed by a very able bullpen with something to prove after losing a lead Sunday. If Rea can give Milwaukee five solid innings, they’ll gladly hand off to the pen and play matchups the rest of the way.
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Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers Prediction
On a somewhat lackluster Monday slate, this is the most attractive National League matchup with first place in the Central hanging in the balance.
I think the Reds’ reputation outweighs their credentials as a slightly above-league average offense prone to explosive outings and low-scoring games all the same.
Just last week, these two teams met for a series and scored a TOTAL of 11 runs over three contests (a three-game Milwaukee sweep by scores of 1-0, 3-0, 4-3.)
My favorite matchup here is Milwaukee’s bullpen vs. Cincinnati’s offense. If Ashcraft can maintain his recent form, and Rea can get this game to the bullpen in the sixth inning, we could see a score in the 2-1, 2-2, or even 3-2 range. I like our chances against this somewhat elevated total.
Prediction: Cincinnati Reds/Milwaukee Brewers under 9.5 runs (-120)