(Updated: UPDATES Milwaukee’s standing in the third sentence)
The Milwaukee Brewers lost some ground in the battle for the second National League wild card spot over the weekend and are running out of time to gain it back. The Cincinnati Reds, who visit the Brewers for the opener of a three-game series on Tuesday, have been nothing but helpful of late to opponents battling for playoff position.
Milwaukee missed a chance to make the NL Central race close and stands 1 1/2 games behind Colorado in the wild-card race after dropping three of four at home to the Chicago Cubs in heartbreaking fashion, with the first two losses coming in extra innings before a 5-0 shutout on Sunday. “No one expected us to be in this position,” Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson, who suffered the loss on Sunday, told reporters. “But we knew in this clubhouse that if we come together as a group, we can be in the thick of things. At the end of the season, that’s all you can ask for. We’re playing meaningful games at the end of September.” The Reds are playing meaningful games as well but happen to be on the losing end while enduring a six-game slide, with the first three losses coming against wild-card contending St. Louis and the last three against the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox over the weekend. Milwaukee, which finishes the regular season with three games at the Cardinals, will send right-hander Zach Davies to the mound on Tuesday while Cincinnati counters with righty Deck McGuire.
TV: 7:40 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Deck McGuire (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Zach Davies (17-9, 3.84)
McGuire is getting the chance to make his first major-league start as the team plans for next season. The 28-year-old rookie has totaled 5 2/3 scoreless innings in four appearances out of the bullpen after being recalled, most recently striking out one in a perfect inning against Boston on Friday. McGuire, who was drafted 11th overall by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round of the 2010 draft, went 9-9 with a 2.79 ERA in 28 games - 27 starts - for Double-A Pensacola before being promoted.
Davies bounced back from a loss at Miami on Sept. 16 with a strong effort against the Cubs on Thursday, surrendering two runs and seven hits over seven innings without factoring in the decision. The 24-year-old allowed two or fewer runs in seven of his last eight outings and completed seven innings in four of the last six. Davies lost at Cincinnati despite yielding one earned run in 5 2/3 frames on Sept. 5 and is 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA in three starts against the division rivals this season.
1. Brewers C Manny Pina (sprained thumb ligament) could miss the rest of the season.
2. Cincinnati 2B Scooter Gennett hit safely in each of his last eight games and recorded three homers and nine RBIs in that span.
3. Milwaukee 3B Travis Shaw needs one RBI to reach 100 for the first time in his career.
PREDICTION: Brewers 6, Reds 3