Despite the cloud over the Milwaukee Brewers, the club should pick up a home win Thursday against the San Diego Padres.
There is no doubt that the suspension of the team’s biggest star, Ryan Braun, for the use of performance enhancing drugs has been a distraction for Milwaukee, but I expect the squad to galvanise for at least this evening and snag a victory.
The reason: their streaky starter Yovani Gallardo is on the pitcher’s mound. Gallardo is enduring a pretty bad season, owning a 4.58 ERA. But even as bad as 2013 has been, when he’s been good, he’s been really good.
Typically, he’s maintained good form over a handful of games before backsliding. For example, over three starts in June, Gallardo threw 21 innings without giving up an earned run. Moving to the present, Gallardo comes into this game having thrown 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball against the Miami Marlins.
After seeing him pitch in that game, there’s reason to believe he’s going to be in a groove for at least a few starts. Even if Gallardo is simply mediocre in this contest, the Brewers should be able to break out a bit versus Edinson Volquez, who gets the start for the Padres. Volquez has been one of the National League’s worst starters this year. He has a 5.73 ERA and over his past two starts has a 9.90 ERA. Take the Brewers for the win at 1.72.
Two pitchers going in different directions will dictate the outcome when the Cincinnati Reds visit the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reds starter Mat Latos has an excellent arsenal of pitches, and, overall, has enjoyed a solid season (9-3 with a 3.53 ERA).
But Latos has been showing some fatigue as of late. In his last four starts he has a 5.82 ERA. In contrast, Dodgers’ pitcher Zack Greinke is rolling right now. In his past five games he’s 4-0 with a 2.65 ERA. He also benefits greatly from pitching at home where he’s 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA.
Reds hitter have registered a limp .197 cumulative lifetime batting average against Greinke in 158 plate appearances so the pitcher should come into this game with confidence.
Brewers to beat the Padres at 1.72.
Dodgers to beat the Cincinnati Reds at 1.82.