The Milwaukee Brewers (44-47) and Cincinnati Reds (52-40) will open up a three-game National League Central series on Friday night at the Great American Ball Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 ET
Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds
Milwaukee is starting to play better baseball, winning or splitting five consecutive series, including taking two of three against the St. Louis Cardinals at home earlier this week. The Brewers have won six of nine overall, pulling within 7.5 games of division-leading Cincinnati. Outfielder Ryan Braun hopes to return to the lineup after missing Wednesday with a slight groin injury, as he’s 6 for 14 over the past 2.5 seasons against Friday’s opposing starter. Milwaukee is 19-39 on the road when the total is 9 to 9.5 the last two-plus seasons.
Brewers starting pitcher Marco Estrada (0-3, 4.13 ERA) is still in search of his first victory of the 2012 MLB campaign, as he didn’t factor into the decision of a 6-4 home setback to the Pittsburgh Pirates last time out. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.57 ERA in six road outings (two starts), issuing eight walks and striking out 20 batters in 17.2 innings. In seven career games (three starts) versus the Reds, Estrada has garnered a 1-2 record and 4.33 ERA.
Cincinnati overcame in early six-run deficit to capture a 7-6 home win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon, which had the clubhouse in a great mood afterwards. “It started off ugly, but the ending of the game was beautiful,” stated Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. He should have a solid night at the plate in this series opener, going 6 for 12 in his career against Estrada. Cincinnati is 13-8 as a home favorite of -125 to -150 this season, with the “under” going 11-8 in those contests.
Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey (8-6, 3.93 ERA) has rattled off three wins in a row, including a 4-2 home win over the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing two runs (one earned) and nine hits over eight frames. The right-hander is 2-4 with a 5.12 ERA in nine home starts, with opposing hitters batting .309 against him. In 10 career games versus the Brewers, Bailey has compiled an 0-5 record and 6.50 ERA, including an 8-4 home setback on June 27.
Sports bettors will likely back the Reds due to their 40-19 mark as a favorite of -110 to -150, while the Brewers are 0-5 in Estrada’s last five starts versus divisional foes.