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Two NL Central rivals will kickoff a series here as the Cincinnati Reds travel to take on the Milwaukee Brewers. Both teams have been up and down recently, so it’ll be interesting to see who breaks out here. Sonny Gray will start for the Reds here, while Gio Gonzalez will be on the mound for Milwaukee. Oddsmakers have the Brewers as relatively modest favorites here.
Gray Back On Track?
If you’ve read my predictions recently, you know I’m very high on this Reds team. They continue to be underrated by the national media and baseball fans, but they won’t be much longer. They’ve had an insanely tough schedule recently, but have managed to weather it. In fact, they just took two out of three from the Cubs, handing Chicago their first series loss since April 5th-7th. The Reds will have Sonny Gray, one of their big offseason acquisitions, on the mound here. Gray has been much better on the road this season, probably because the Reds’ home park can be an incredibly difficult place to pitch. Gray has been consistently solid, and his 1.18 WHIP suggests he’s been pitching considerably better than you might think just by glancing at his 4.30 ERA.
Sonny Gray looks confident and good again 👏 pic.twitter.com/Ueo6H67PIV
— Baseball Scoops (@BaseballScoops) March 11, 2019
He’s only given up more than three runs once this season, and even then it was just four runs in 5 and 1/3 innings. I continue to have confidence in the offense, and they have a ton of potential. That’s best exemplified by Joey Votto. Votto is usually an All-Star caliber player, but he’s really struggled this season. He’s starting to wake up though, with hits in six of his last eight games. The Reds are one of those weird teams that seem to play better against better opponents, as they’re 11-5 in their last 16 games against teams with winning records. There might still be some value on Cincy here…
The Brewers have done a nice job establishing themselves as a contender in the NL, but they’ve been only mediocre recently. They’re just 4-5 over their last nine games, and a lot of their recent wins have come over very bad teams. As they look to get back on solid ground, they’ll turn to Gio Gonzalez here. Gonzalez has only made four starts this season, but so far he’s been very good. That being said, I don’t think he’ll be able to keep it up. Gonzalez had a 4.21 ERA in a full season last year, and he’s 33 so it’s not like he had any sort of sudden development. It’s important not to overreact to a few good starts, and we should all avoid hopping on the Gonzalez bandwagon too quickly.
In one of his most recent starts against the Reds, he got rocked, giving up five runs and ten hits in just 3 and 2/3 innings. Milwaukee will also be without their starting third baseman here, Travis Shaw, as he’s dealing with a wrist injury, which is worth noting. The Brewers are just 1-6 in their last seven division games, and I think their lineup is a little overrated. Coming off a long road trip, I think the Brewers will still be a little sluggish here.
- 1-6 in their last 7 vs. National League Central
- 11-5 in their last 16 vs. a team with a winning record
- 9-3 in their last 12 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15
- 6-1 in their last 7 after allowing 5 runs or more in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
There’s some value on Cincinnati here. The Reds are a lot better than most people think, and Gray has pitched a lot better than his ERA would indicate. The Reds have been dynamite against good teams this year, going 11-5 in their last 16 games against teams with winning records. I think they steal this one on the road.
Prediction: Reds +120
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the under a lot here. Both lineups are underachieving at the moment, so I don’t think this one will be particularly high scoring. Gonzalez isn’t quite as good as he’s looked through his first few starts, but it’s hard to argue with the results so far. The under is 38-14-1 in the Reds’ last 53 road games, and I expect that trend to continue here.