The Milwaukee Brewers entered their series in Cincinnati against the Reds with their lead in the National League Central down to 1/2 game thanks to a 29 game stretch in which they went 11-18 and will look to get back to their early season form on Saturday.
Milwaukee Brewers (-115, 10.5) vs. Cincinnati Reds
While the Brewers bullpen pitching has been an issue, ranked last in the National League in ERA the past 30 days with a mark of 5.20, the lack of road offense might be an even bigger concern.
The Brewers entered the series scoring the fewest runs per game of any National League team with 3.6 while ranking 25th in the league in home runs per game away from home.
A lack of power also the Reds biggest liability, entering the series last in five National League in home runs but 13th in the league in total runs per game with a unit that is 10th in batting average.
Despite Great American Ballpark being a notorious hitter’s park, the Reds entered the series hitting just .249 at home compared to .263 on the road and Brewers starter Collin Rea will look to capitalize on this.
Rea enters Saturday with his biggest issue being the deep ball, with 1.7 home runs per nine innings allowed being a big reason for his 4.89 ERA, but Rea enters having pitched better on the road than at home with a 4.32 ERA on the road compared to a 5.26 ERA at home.
On the other end, Graham Ashcraft gets the start for the Reds, who had a terrific month of April with a 2.10 ERA and two runs or fewer allowed in each of his first five starts of the season before surrendering three runs or more in all five of his starts in May, posting a 9.21 ERA with six home runs allowed across 28 1/3 innings.
Ashcraft’s fielding independent of 4.58 compared to a 5.55 ERA points total a to potential bounce back with his strikeouts per nine innings rate improving from 6.1 last season to 7.3 this season.
With both starting pitchers having recent issues allowing home runs, this matchup should get both on the right track with the overall lack of home run power in Saturday’s affair and a lower scoring game than expected.
The Play: Brewers vs. Reds Under 10.5