Josh Smith (0-1, 5.62 ERA) and Jimmy Nelson (5-8, 4.48 ERA) take the hill in the second of a three-game series between the Cincinnati Reds (36-42) and the Milwaukee Brewers (34-48) at the Great American Ball Park. The Brewers won the last game 12-1, continuing a six-game winning streak. Action begins at 7:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jul. 4 and can be seen on FOX.
Smith pitched 5.0 innings in his most recent start, surrendering one, striking out three and walking four in a 7-2 defeat to the Mets. When pitching against the Reds, Nelson is 0-1 with a 5.89 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 14 strikeouts. Ryan Braun (.277, 46 Rs, 15 HRs, 54 RBIs, 10 SBs) has been successful at the plate for the Brewers, going 3 for 5 yesterday with one run, one RBI, and one stolen base.
Milwaukee is a narrow -107 favorite over Cincinnati. The matchup has an estimated Over/Under (O/U) of eight runs. The Reds have recorded an overall money line of -555 and have shown a weak performance as an underdog this season with a record of 14-28. Within its division, Cincinnati has a 5-3 as the underdog and a 15-16 SU. Cincinnati leads the MLB in steals, swiping 81 bases. As for the pitchers, the Reds are the fifth-best team in the NL at limiting hits to their opponents, allowing only 8.3 hits per game so far this season.
In games where it is the favorite, Milwaukee has a 13-17 record and an overall money line of -1,374. They played solid baseball as the favorite over their last 10 games with a 7-1 record, and an 8-2 record SU. Offensively, the Brewers have really picked up the pace in the last 10 games. They have exceeded their season average of 3.8 runs per game by averaging 5.2 during that stretch. The Brewers average 4.7 runs allowed per game, but does better whenever another team from the NL Central is on the schedule. They bring that runs allowed average down to 4.1 against division foes.
The Reds lead the season series, 5-3. The Reds have a 27-30 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Nelson takes the mound. Smith (RHP) will be on the hill against the Brewers, who have a inferior 23-40 record against right-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - CIN, O/U - Over
The Reds hold a 15-17 record this season against teams in the NL Central Division. The Brewers' record in these matchups is 13-19.
Cincinnati has won 44% (14-18) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, Milwaukee has won 46% (16-19) of its games when taking a late lead.
Having scored one run in their last game, the Reds are going to have to up their game if they want to win this matchup. The Brewers have a 10-2 record in games where opponents scored that many runs or fewer.
When they are outhit, the Brewers are 6-39. The Reds have a 6-30 record when opponents outhit them.
Ranking 15th in home runs, Milwaukee has hit 72 this season. Cincinnati ranks sixth with 90 home runs.
Ranking 11th, Milwaukee is in the top half of the league in hits, notching 8.36 per game. Cincinnati ranks in the top 10 at ninth with 8.58.
Ranking 21st, Milwaukee is near the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.689). Cincinnati ranks in the top half at 15th with an OPS of .718.
The Brewers are 21-32 when they allow at least one home run. The Reds perform similarly when they allow one or more homers with a 16-33 record.