With the Milwaukee Brewers’ five-game losing streak coming to an end on Sunday against Philadelphia, the Brew Crew now turns to a short two-game series with the Colorado Rockies (69-77) who journey to Miller Park tonight to hamper the playoff hopes of the league’s best home team. The Brewers (86-62) looked to have all but wrapped up the race for the NL Central, but now find themselves needing to pick up as many wins as possible with the St. Louis Cardinals charging up behind them, now just 6.5 games back. Going just 5-8 in their last 13 games, Milwaukee must take advantage of a depleted Rockies’ lineup in order to keep pace ahead of St. Louis, and avoid a battle with Atlanta for the remaining Wild Card spot in the National League.
There’s no better pitcher for the Brewers to get them back on track at home than starter Zach Greinke (14-6, 3.93 ERA), who has gone 10-0 this season with a 2.96 ERA in 12 starts at MIller Park. The Rockies are also struggling on the road against Milwaukee, and will try to end a five-game road losing streak to the Brewers tonight in Game 1 of the shortened series.
In opposition to Greinke tonight, Esmil Rogers (6-5, 6.26 ERA) takes the mound, but will be hoping to see the Rockies’ big bats return to the lineup to help put up some runs, as Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Mark Ellis and Todd Helton have all been benched due to injury. If these 4 players return, there’s at least a fighting chance for Rogers, who has lost his last three starts in a row and has failed to limit opposing teams to less than 4 runs in 5 consecutive games. However if any should miss tonight’s game it could spell tough going for the weakest link in the Colorado rotation, who has gone 0-4 in his last 5 starts with a 6.83 ERA.
Betting Lines for Colorado at Milwaukee:
Intertops Sportsbook (read the review of Intertops Sportsbook) has the Milwaukee Brewers as -225 favorites to win. The Colorado Rockies meanwhile get +195 odds as underdogs on the road. The Brewers give up 1.5 runs at -115 odds, while the Rockies get 1.5 runs at -105 odds. The over/under for tonight’s contest stands at 8.5 runs, with the under bet taking -105 odds, and the over bet taking -115 odds.
Our Pick to Win:
Though Milwaukee’s bats had been awful during their 5-game skid, batting just over .200, mostly due to the presence of Philadelphia pitching for the past 4 games played. However, with Esmil Rogers on the mound at Miller Park, the Brewers chances of driving in runs improve greatly, so expect plenty of offense tonight as Milwaukee prevails at home behind their best starting pitcher there. Brewers win 8-4 tonight.
Players to Watch, Colorado:
Jason Giambi, 1B – With the Rockies’ power core depleted, Giambi may need to be the one to step up in this series. He’s hitting .400 against Milwaukee pitching this year, and .333 lifetime average (7-for-21) against Greinke with 5 homers and 11 RBIs. Pretty impressive production from a fill-in 40-year old.
Carlos Gonzalez, LF – Luckily it looks like the Rockies will get Car-Go back in the lineup today, and he’ll need to improve his numbers this season against Milwaukee if Colorado is to stand any chance of winning. He’s hitting just .167 this year (3-for-18) against Milwaukee pitching, and he’ll also want to improve on his .254 average with 9 homers and 29 RBIs on the road this season.
Players to Watch, Milwaukee:
Prince Fielder, 1B – Homerless now in 9 games while batting .212 during that stretch, it’s time for the big dog to come out and eat against Esmil Rogers. He’ll look for his first hit (0-for-3) in his career against Rogers tonight, and hopefully for the Brewers that hit will fly over the outfield wall with a few bases occupied.
Nyjer Morgan, CF – The speedy Morgan has had success in September where most of the Brewers haven’t. Batting .333 in the last 7 days, and .341 over the last 15, look for Morgan to get on base and get into scoring position tonight.