Yovani Gallardo excellent in return from the disabled list

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Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo blanked the Reds over six and one-third innings of work, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out three in his first start after returning from the disabled list. He had been out since July 31 with a strained left hamstring. He sat in the high-80’s and low 90’s with his fastball, reaching as high as 93 MPH.

Reds starter Mat Latos was nearly as good, allowing two runs on six hits and three walks in seven innings while striking out six. The Brewers got their two runs on a two-out, two-run double by Logan Schafer in the bottom of the fourth. Closer Jim Henderson struck out the side in the ninth for his 18th save of the season.

With the Pirates losing 15-5 earlier, the Cardinals were the big winners of the night with a 4-0 victory over the Cubs. The Cardinals now trail the Pirates by just two games and the Reds remain 3.5 games behind.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.