BREWERS (88-70) AT REDS (73-85)
12:35 p.m. ET; FS-O, MLBN, FSWI, MLB.TV
The Milwaukee Brewers (+1.5) (+1.5) barely have time to savor the flavor of securing their second straight postseason appearance before they will find themselves back at Great American Ball Park on Thursday afternoon for the series finale against the Cincinnati Reds (-1.5) (-1.5).
Perhaps that’s for the best, as the Brewers (88-70) still have work to do.
The winner of six in a row and 17 of the past 19, Milwaukee will bid to complete a series sweep of Cincinnati (73-85) and potentially trim its deficits behind National League Central-leading St. Louis (90-69) and Washington (89-69). The Brewers reside 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals and one in back of the Nationals for the top wild-card spot.
“It was really against all odds, what we just accomplished,” Ryan Braun said after he followed his solo homer in Milwaukee’s 4-2 win on Tuesday with a grand slam the following night as the Brewers breezed to a 9-2 victory.
“It’s incredibly difficult,” he added. “It’s hard to articulate how unlikely what we just did was, but again, there’s still challenges that lie ahead.”
The 2011 NL MVP has 28 homers at Great American Ball Park, the most by any visiting player and his top total at any road site.
Braun (1-for-12) and Eric Thames (0-for-10, seven strikeouts) have struggled mightily versus Cincinnati’s Thursday starter, Luis Castillo (15-7, 3.25 ERA). The right-hander dropped to 3-3 with a 3.42 ERA in eight career meetings with Milwaukee after posting a 1-2 mark in four starts this season.
Castillo surrendered two homers among his three hits in seven innings of an 8-1 setback versus the New York Mets (-1.5) (-1.5) in his last outing on Friday.
Milwaukee right-hander Chase Anderson (7-4, 4.30 ERA) looks to continue his strong September when he takes the mound on Thursday afternoon.
Anderson scattered three hits over six scoreless innings in a 10-1 romp versus Pittsburgh last Friday, dropping his ERA to 2.50 while limiting the opposition to a .185 average during the month.
The 31-year-old fell to 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 14 career starts against Cincinnati after losing his lone decision among three starts versus the Reds this season. He was gashed for six runs on five hits in five innings of an 11-7 setback on June 21.
Eugenio Suarez is just 4-for-24 against Anderson, although three of those hits left the park.
Suarez set a record for most homers among NL third basemen by crushing his 49th of the season in the first inning on Wednesday. The blast enabled Suarez to pass the mark initially set by Mike Schmidt (1980) and matched by Adrian Beltre (2004). He moved within three of the major league record for a third baseman, set by Alex Rodriguez in 2007.
Suarez’s homer, his ninth versus Milwaukee this season, was the franchise-record-tying 222nd of the season for the Reds.
“All of my records are special,” the 28-year-old Suarez said. “I never imagined I’d be doing what I’m doing right now. I just have to enjoy it.”
As for Milwaukee, it enjoyed its second straight September surge to secure a postseason berth.
“For whatever reason, we just seem to pull it together in September,” injured star Christian Yelich said. “It’s a big tribute to the guys.”
–Field Level Media