After a rough beginning to their interleague Texas two-step at GABP, the Reds ended up with a 4-2 record in those six games beginning last Friday, which included a sweep of the first place Houston Astros. It was the first time the Astros had been swept in any series going back to August 2018.
So, that’s a pretty big deal.
It doesn’t get a whole lot easier for the Redlegs this weekend as they take their show on the road to Milwaukee to face off with the (currently second place by a half game) Brewers.
The Reds are (hopefully permanently) out of the basement of the National League Central now. They are only five games back of the Brewers for second. This being a four game series, the Reds are in position to claw their way right back into things if their week ends as good as it has started.
Their pitching lines up pretty well for it, too, as they’ll see each of Tanner Roark, Sonny Gray, and Luis Castillo start the first three games of the series, with a red-hot Anthony DeSclafani set for the finale.
On the other side of the coin, the Brewers will counter with a freshly returned Jimmy Nelson. Nelson missed all of the Brewers great 2018 campaign after shoulder surgery in September 2017. He’s just returned earlier this month, pitching only seven innings over two starts. They’ve been pretty bad, as his 10.29 ERA and -0.4 bWAR can attest.
Still, it’s probably that he’s still shaking off the rust that comes with a shoulder surgery and lengthy lay off. Nelson had a breakout year in 2017, where he pitched 175.1 innings of 3.49 ERA ball with a 3.05 FIP, good for a 3.2 bWAR. Maybe he never quite repeats that, but the Brewers should be hoping for more than what they’ve seen thus far.
Still, that doesn’t mean the Reds aren’t catching him exactly at the right time, considering their recent winning streak against much stronger pitching options.
Let’s make it five in a row!