After a tough series with the Braves, the Reds return home to face off with the Brewers. They're now 5 games behind the Cardinals, dead-on even at .500, and need to right the ship. Thanks to Cueto's performance on Sunday, the Reds should have something that at least resembles a rested bullpen entering the series. The Brewers, on the other hand, are streaking the other way entering the series, having won seven of their last eight. Some quick hits on the matchup:
1. BPro's various win estimators (and, of course, the team's actual winning percentage) indicates that the Brewers should be a slight favorite in this matchup, all things being equal.
2. The Reds have gotten on base a bit more than the Brewers, while the Brew Crew have just a tad more power. After park adjustments, total team performances this season are close to even on offense. The Reds' baserunning prowess, however, amounts to the equivalent of almost a one win advantage thus far for the Reds.
3. The Brewers, as expected given what they did this offseason, have a clear advantage in their starting rotation. The Reds catch both major additions in this series in Greinke and Marcum. It doesn't help matters that 2/5 of the Reds' rotation is currently not with the team, of course. The Brewers' bullpen has also been a strength for the team, and probably have collectively thrown the ball a tad better than their Reds' counterparts.
4. Where the Reds should hold a meaningful advantage is with fielding. That's as was expected this preseason. And while it probably doesn't quite close the pitching gap, it's a big deal and helps a lot.
I didn't realize how good of a start Chris Narveson has gotten off to. I don't know if he can keep that up, but his peripherals are massively better than I'd expected to see from him. Wood's peripherals also indicate that he's thrown better than his results dictate, but I will always worry about him pitching in GABP given his proclivity for fly balls.
The TBD is for Tuesday is reportedly Chad Reineke. I know he's got the 2.52 ERA in AAA and all, but he also only has a 5.2 k/9 and a 37.5% GB%. I'm not particularly optimistic. But with Bailey, Volquez, Maloney, and LeCure all apparently out of commission or otherwise unavailable (regardless of what LeCure has tweeted), I don't really have a better suggestion. Goodness, that pitching depth evaporated quickly...
Tough break in Reineke pulling Greinke as a season debut matchup, because his numbers scare the hell out of me. But baseball happens, so we'll see: maybe Greinke will continue to allow home runs on almost 20% of his fly balls! It is GABP, after all...
It's going to be a tough series. The Reds are beat up, haven't had a day off in two and a half weeks (with a lot of recent extra innings), and haven't won a series in almost two weeks. Taking two out of three will be a challenge, but would be huge for this team. I'll be cheering them on...