Who would have thought that after the injury to Christian Yelich and Corey Knebel being out all season that the Milwaukee Brewers would be in playoff contention? Well, forget about contention, because they are in the driver’s seat of the second National League Wild Card spot. With only five games left in the season, the Brewers hold a five-game lead over the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs in a race that is all but over.
For the Reds, this season was never really about the playoffs. It was about growth and improving their young core. So far, it has worked. They’ve won a handful of games more than they did last year, and have made some notable additions like Trevor Bauer.
For the second game of this series, Jordan Lyles will get the ball for the Brewers for his 27th start of the season. Lyles is 11-8 with a 4.16 earned run average this season. But, that doesn’t paint the whole picture. Since coming over to Milwaukee from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline, Lyles has been the Brewers’ best pitcher.
In 10 starts as a Brewer, Lyles has a 2.35 ERA and a 6-1 record. Even better, the three games that Lyles hasn’t recorded a decision, the Brewers still won. So Milwaukee is 9-1 in Lyles’ 10 starts. That’s a huge reason why the Brewers have been able to capitalize on the Cubs’ late-season choke job. Lyles has faced the Reds twice this season, both when he was with Pittsburgh, and is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA.
For the Reds, Tyler Mahle will take the mound for his 24th start of 2019. It’s been a rough go of it for Mahle this season, as he currently holds a 2-11 record with a 4.93 ERA. He’s been pretty mediocre all season.
Every month of 2019 has featured Mahle recording an ERA of over 4.05. Mahle has faced Milwaukee once already this season, and went six innings, giving up three runs and striking out eight. Mahle is also coming off one of his best starts of 2019, going six innings against the Cubs and giving up only one hit and one earned run.
Batters To Watch
The return of Ryan Braun is upon us. In the absence of Yelich, every Brewers player needed to step up and pick up some of the slack. Braun has definitely done his share. He’s batting .283 this season with 21 home runs and 70 RBI. In the second half of the season, Braun is batting over .300 with nine homers and 33 RBI in 58 games.
There aren’t many reasons to watch the Reds when they’re up at the plate considering their team batting average is 24th in the league at .244. There is always an exception to the rule though, and Eugenio Suarez is the exception to that rule here. Suarez has 48 home runs on the season along with 102 RBI. If Suarez can get to the 50-home-run mark this season, he’d be the first player to do so as a Red since George Foster did it in 1977.
The Milwaukee Brewers clinch a playoff spot tonight, folks. Take the Brew Crew.