MILWAUKEE BREWERS (79-75)
at CINCINNATI REDS (93-61)
First pitch: Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. EDT
Line: Cincinnati -130, Milwaukee +120, Total: 8˝
With the Brewers 4˝ games back of the NL Wild Card and desperate for wins, they will take on playoff-bound Cincinnati in game two of a three-game set on Wednesday.
The Reds enter this game having won six of their past eight games, giving up just 2.9 runs per game in that span. That includes a 4-2 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday, the third loss in four games for the Brewers, who had won six straight contests before the slump. Though he has struggled since returning from a two-month DL stint, Shaun Marcum finally made it six innings against the Nationals last week, allowing just two earned runs in a 4-2 win. Bronson Arroyo takes the mound for the Reds with a 3.63 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 12-8 record in 2012. He has made it at least six innings in each of his past eight starts, a span in which he is 5-1. Furthermore, Great American Ballpark has not been a friendly home to the Brewers, who have lost four in a row and six of seven there this season. In the past three seasons, the Reds have claimed 18 of their past 24 home games against Milwaukee. Take CINCINNATI as slight home favorites here.
This four-star FoxSheets trend also favors the Reds:
CINCINNATI is 21-4 (84.0%, +16.6 Units) against the money line after batting .240 or worse over a 20-game span this season. The average score was CINCINNATI 4.5, OPPONENT 2.8 - (Rating = 4*).
The Brewers have been a miserable road team this year, going 33-46 (.418) away from Milwaukee. Although Marcum’s last start was encouraging, it is important to be wary of his numbers because since coming back from the DL—he is 0-1 with a 5.16 ERA in those six starts. And his lack of stamina since his return (4.9 innings per start) tends to be a problem because the Milwaukee bullpen has struggled in 2012 with a 4.54 ERA (4th-worst in majors) and 1.48 WHIP, converting on just 61% of save chances. Overall in 2012, Marcum is 5-4 in 19 starts with a 3.86 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. In his career, he is 0-1 (team 0-3) in three career starts versus the Reds with a 4.07 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. None of those starts were this season.
Arroyo has been dominant at home lately with a 4-0 record and 2.97 ERA in his past five starts in Cincinnati. And the Brewers are a familiar opponent in 2012—he has already seen them four times, going 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 24 K’s in 25.2 IP. He has started a total of 25 times against Milwaukee in his career, with his team winning 16 of those games (.640) as he compiled a 13-8 record, 3.81 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. And should he falter, he has baseball’s best bullpen behind him. Cincinnati relievers have a major-league leading 2.61 ERA, which lowers to a 2.18 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and 263 strikeouts in 239.1 innings at Great American Ballpark.