The Cincinnati Reds are doing all they can to reach the postseason for the first time in seven years. That means getting Trevor Bauer on the mound as much as possible during this final week of the regular season.
Pitching on three days’ rest, Bauer looks to help the Reds take Wednesday night’s rubber game against visiting the National League Central rival Milwaukee Brewers.
Following Tuesday’s 3-2 loss that evened this key series, the Reds (28-28) are in an even tighter mix with Milwaukee (27-27) to grab a postseason spot — whether a wild-card position or second place in the division. So, it makes sense that the Reds are willing to pull out all the stops.
That means Bauer (4-4, 1.80 ERA) will make this start not long after allowing two home runs over seven innings of a 5-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. A Cy Young Award candidate in 2020, the right-hander ranks among the majors’ ERA leaders and has posted a 1.33 ERA with a .184 opponents’ batting average despite going 1-2 over his last four starts.
“I know Trevor wants to be perfect,” Reds manager David Bell said after Bauer’s last outing. “It’s not going to happen all of the time. Other than those two pitches (against the White Sox), he was really outstanding.”
Bauer is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA this season against Milwaukee, which will try once again to top the .500 mark for the first time in 2020.
“We’re neck and neck (with Cincinnati),” Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff said. “We know we need to win these games.”
Milwaukee likely needs a strong effort from scheduled starter Adrian Houser (1-5, 5.33 ERA). The right-hander, whose lone win of the season came on Aug. 5, has not completed more than 4 2/3 innings in any of his last three starts.
Houser has also allowed at least four runs in six straight starts, and 11 in the last two combined. However, only four of those runs over his last two outings were earned. He yielded four runs — two earned — and five hits over four innings of a 9-5 win against Kansas City on Friday.
Houser gave up solo homers to Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker, plus two other runs and nine total hits during a 6-1 loss to Cincinnati on Aug. 27. Castellanos, Winker and teammates Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez are a combined 15-for-32 with a combined five home runs versus Hauser.
Castellanos hit a two-run homer on Tuesday. Three of his 14 home runs this season have come against the Brewers. However, teammate Joey Votto is 0-for-22 with seven strikeouts in six games versus Milwaukee during 2020.
The Brewers’ Daniel Vogelbach had another hit and scored the tying run Tuesday. Since being claimed off waivers by Milwaukee on Sept. 3, Vogelbach is batting .395 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. He’s also scored 10 times.
–Field Level Media