Reds at Brewers MLB Pick for June 21
Following an impressive 7-1 win in the series opener on Thursday night, the Cincinnati Reds will look to make it six straight wins overall as they continue their weekend series in Milwaukee against the Brewers. Cincinnati is now just 5 ½ games behind the Chicago Cubs for first place in the NL Central, though they are still only in fourth place.
The Brewers, meanwhile, have lost four straight overall to drop 1½ back of Chicago in the division. The Brewers are a relatively disappointing 40-35 thus far, just a season removed from coming to within a game of a World Series berth.
Sonny Gray will take the ball on Friday night for the visitors, while Chase Anderson will start for Milwaukee.
|2019 ATR Home||15-19-0||19-17-0|
|2019 ATR Away||24-15-0||20-19-0|
|2019 O/U Home||12-21-1||17-18-1|
|2019 O/U Away||12-26-1||15-22-2|
Sonny Gray hasn’t gotten a ton of attention this season, but the former All-Star has looked excellent in his first season in the Queen City. Gray was unceremoniously dumped by the Yankees, following a couple of down years in New York, but his underlying numbers were never as bad as the public perception.
So far, the Reds have reaped the benefits of the Yankees’ impatience. The right-hander owns a strong strikeout rate of 26.7% on the season. His 9.1% walk rate is still too high, but his 3.46 xFIP shows that his 3.77 ERA is legitimate.
Gray’s strikeouts trending up is a positive sign, especially considering he is still generating ground balls at a very strong clip. Gray has induced a ground ball rate of 55.9% so far this season, which ranks among the league leaders for starting pitchers.
He has been very good overall for Cincinnati, and his reverse split tendencies should come in handy in this matchup. Four of the six homers Gray has served up this season have been hit by lefties, but he has held left-handed hitters to an overall wOBA of just .218 compared to a .328 mark for righties. Perhaps most impressively, Gray’s strikeout rate against lefties is nearing 32%. That’ll help him against a lineup that can throw power lefties like Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas, and Yasmani Grandal his way.
As mentioned, the Brewers haven’t been in great form. They were swept in San Diego before dropping the first game of this series against the Reds. Chase Anderson will look to stop the bleeding on Friday.
Anderson has been about average so far this season. The right-hander is 3-1 through 14 appearances, including eight starts. He has a 4.05 ERA alongside a 4.52 xFIP. He’s also a fly ball pitcher, and fly ball pitchers tend to give up plenty of home runs as a result. He has already been tagged eight times this season after giving up 30 long balls in 2018.
Anderson doesn’t have the longest leash, which means we should see a good amount of the Milwaukee bullpen tonight. He lasted just four innings and 83 pitches in his last start against the Giants, and he hasn’t topped 94 pitches since late April.
Like Gray, Anderson has pretty staunch reverse splits. He has held lefties to a .240 wOBA on the year compared to a hefty .416 mark against right-handed hitters. Righties have also accounted for five of the eight home runs he’s allowed thus far in ‘19.
I’m more bullish on Gray than most. I acknowledge that a matchup with the Brewers in Milwaukee is clearly a scary one, but Gray doesn’t profile poorly overall here given his ability to get left-handed hitters out. Anderson is a more homer-prone pitcher, and the Reds do have some sneaky power in the lineup.
Obviously, I like the Reds quite a bit here. +110 on the moneyline is a solid value, and I think the hitters get to Anderson pretty early in this one. Give me Cincinnati to win outright on Friday night.
$100 stake could win...