The Milwaukee Brewers have their most important series of the season against the Cincinnati Reds. If Milwaukee wants any chance of climbing into the driver’s seat of the National League Central division, they must take a minimum of two out of three games from Cincinnati.
The Brewers are coming off a disappointing series loss against the Chicago White Sox in which they lost both games by a combined three runs. Starters Randy Wolf and Michael Fiers both gave good enough performances to record the win but the bullpen and offense stumbled.
Milwaukee now has the opportunity to get within three and a half games of the division leading Reds but must play top notch baseball in order to do so. If the Brewers get swept or take another series loss, their season could potentially be over and they will certainly become sellers at the All-Star break.
The following is the Brewers starting lineup against the Reds for Monday night:
Right Field: Norichika Aoki
Center Field: Nyjer Morgan
Left Field: Ryan Braun
Third Base: Aramis Ramirez
First Base: Corey Hart
Second Base: Rickie Weeks
Catcher: Martin Maldonado
Shortstop: Cesar Izturis
Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo
Ace Yovani Gallardo will look to start the Brewers off on the right foot, as he will be the starter taking the mound. Gallardo is in a solid stretch in which he has won back-to-back decisions and four of his last five. He has only given up more than three earned runs once in his last 10 outings and has pitched at least six innings in those 10 starts. He also won his last outing against the Reds on May 8.
If there was ever a time for Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, and Corey Hart to get hot at the same time it is now. All three of these sluggers must have a high-average, high-powered offensive series in order for Milwaukee to have a chance against Cincinnati. None of these players has swung the bat well at the same time this season so there is a good possibility it could happen now.
The rest of the lineup must be patient at the plate and error-free in the field. Getting on base in front of the big hitters is far more important than getting hits, unless of course there are runners in scoring position.