Tuesday, September 25, 2012

10 notes about the Brewers series

The Reds (92-61) enjoyed their last off-day of the regular season on Monday, and will now turn their focus to hosting the Milwaukee Brewers (79-74) for a 3-game set beginning Tuesday night. To say this series is much more important for Milwaukee would be a vast understatement. The Brew Crew enter play on Tuesday 3.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card standings, and are badly in need of victories to keep their playoffs dreams alive. They've been red-hot in the last month having posted a 25-8 record since August 20th, but might it be a classic case of 'too little, too late'?

Cincinnati, on the other hand, clinched the division Saturday with their win over the Dodgers and can now embrace a relatively pressure-free mindset during this last week and half of the regular season. They still have a shot at overtaking the Washington Nationals for the No. 1 seed (homefield advantage), but I wouldn't expect them to pursue that endeavor too hard. Look for the Reds to try and rest up their regulars a bit before one last push toward the World Series come October.

Here are 10 notes regarding the series versus Ron Roenicke's third-place bunch:

1) Tuesday and Wednesday's games are scheduled to get underway at approximately 7:10pm ET. Thursday's affair will be a matinee with a start time of 12:35pm ET.

2) Here are the probable pitching matchups:

Tue - CIN Johnny Cueto (18-9, 2.84) vs MIL Mike Fiers (9-8, 3.38)
Wed - CIN Bronson Arroyo (12-8, 3.63) vs MIL Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.86)
Thur - CIN  Mat Latos (13-4, 3.60) vs MIL Wily Peralta (2-1, 3.04)

3) Cincinnati leads the season series, 7-5, including a 5-1 mark at GABP.

4) This marks the final home series of the regular season for the Redlegs, and the last overall against Milwaukee.

5) Reigning MVP Ryan Braun leads the league in both homers (40) and runs batted in (108) in 2012.

6) The Reds will become only the 7th pitching staff in MLB history to produce five pitchers with at least 30 starts each in a season when Leake takes the mound on Tuesday. The last team to achieve the feat was the 2006 Chicago White Sox. *Editor's note: Leake is no longer starting on Tuesday as the Reds mixed up their starting rotation Monday in preparation for the playoffs.*

7) The series will feature two of the top three homer-hitting clubs in the NL. Milwaukee has clubbed a league-leading 188 while Cincy has stroked 169.

8) Both of these teams rely on different strengths to win. The Brewers have plated 733 runs this year, which is tops in the league. The Reds boast a team ERA of 3.40, which ranks second in the league behind only Washington (3.27). Cincy's 2.62 bullpen ERA, however, leads all major league teams.

9) Arroyo is 9-3 in his last 14 starts. He is just nine innings shy of eclipsing the 200-inning mark for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. He fell one shy in 2011.

10) The Reds are 124-111-1 all-time against the Brewers.

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