The 2023 Milwaukee Brewers were supposed to be good. They sport a wealth of quality starting pitching options around former NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes, a former NL MVP in Christian Yelich, and an Airbender at the back of their bullpen. Seeing them throwing haymakers in the race for the division title as the All Star break looms is in zero ways surprising.
The same cannot be said for the Cincinnati Reds, who have used their rookie rocket fuel to race right past Milwaukee to the top of the division standings despite Joey Votto missing most of the first half and their starting pitching cogs being meatball chuckers, more often than not.
Successfully navigating a big league season comes down to three major parts: how you play in the first half, the moves you make to augment your team when the transaction rules allow, and how you finish down the stretch. The Reds and Brewers begin a series this evening that will begin a window of six consecutive games against each other (wrapped around the All Star break), and they’ll play each other nine times between now and when the trade deadline arrives. In other words, they’re playing a microcosm of an entire season across the next three weeks, with each club capable of throttling their opponent with such vigor as to completely alter their plans and approach at this upcoming trade deadline.
The first series, which begins this evening in Milwaukee, will begin with rookie lefty Andrew Abbott on the bump for the Reds, a pitcher who has been record-breaking at nearly every step of the way so far this year. The Brewers, meanwhile, will counter with said former CYA winner Burnes, and while he’s not pitched up to his lofty standards so far this year, he’s always a threat to fire a heater whenever he takes the mound.
It’s the first game of the biggest series in Reds baseball in what, eleven years? You’re damn right I’ll drop everything to tune in to that one.
First pitch is set for 8:10 PM ET. Go Reds.