The Cincinnati Reds are still right in the thick of the fight for the title in the NL Central this year. A team that is struggling to get back in the fray, the Milwaukee Brewers will have a shot to get a bit closer on Saturday night at the Great American Ballpark.
The Brew Crew are fading fast, as they are 8.5 games out of the mix in the division. Still, matters aren’t totally out of the question at this point, but losing both of the last two games in this series will certainly make things tough. Arguably the team’s best pitcher is going to be on the bump on Saturday in Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo has 121 strikeouts this year, making him one of the few pitchers in the game to log more K’s than innings as a starting pitcher. He has allowed a total of just two earned runs over the course of his last three starts, and he has struck out 26 in that stretch. Still, the righty is only 8-6 for the season, though he clearly deserves better. Gallardo has a 3.59 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP, but more importantly is the fact that batters are only hitting .239 against him. In another season with a better offensive squad around him, perhaps Gallardo would have a dozen wins. It still doesn’t hurt the fact that he has had great control and command, and he is still one of the toughest pitchers in the NL to try to get the bat on the ball against.
It feels like with Bronson Arroyo, the man that is going to get the ball from Manager Dusty Baker tonight, you either get really, really good or really, really bad. Just look at his last two starts. Arroyo threw a complete game shutout and a three-hitter on the road at the San Diego Padres back on July 6th, but he came back in his last start and allowed eight hits and five runs, getting run out of his start against the Arizona Diamondbacks after just three frames. Arroyo has had good success against the Brewers in his career though, going 12-8 in 23 starts with a 3.70 ERA. The good thing that you know you’re going to get with this righty is that he is going to throw strikes. He only has 19 walks in 111.2 innings this year, and that’s about par for the course for his last three seasons. He gets shelled a ton though because of it, and he has conceded a whopping 91 homers in his last three years as well.
This is a game that the Brewers really have to win in the NL Central chase, and we expect to see them go all out to try to do it. In the end, we just don’t see Gallardo struggling as badly as we could see Arroyo struggling. We’ll give the nod to the Brew Crew to claw a game back in the NL Central on Saturday night. Milwaukee 7 Cincinnati 3