The Reds seek to continue their success against the Brewers as the NL Central rivals open a three-game series at Great American Ball Park on Monday.
Cincinnati (36-27) has taken five of seven meetings with Milwaukee this season, posting some impressive offensive numbers in the process. The Reds have amassed 50 runs in the seven contests, an average of 7.1 per game, including three contests scoring 11 or more.
Brewers relievers have given up 20 earned runs in 20 1-3 innings versus Cincinnati this season for an 8.85 ERA.
No Reds batter has enjoyed facing Milwaukee pitching this season more than second baseman Brandon Phillips. He is 15-for-31 (.484) with three homers, 11 RBIs and nine runs scored in the seven games against the Brewers.
Phillips was also a bright spot for the Reds in Sunday’s 9-3 defeat to the Chicago Cubs, hitting his seventh home run and second of the four-game series. However, Cincinnati dropped the final three games of the weekend set while totaling just 10 runs and 19 hits in those contests.
“They just flat out beat us,” said Reds manager Jerry Narron, whose club had averaged 7.4 runs during an eight-game winning streak before their current slide. “It’s tough to win the game when you only have three hits going into the seventh inning.”
The Reds, who entered Friday with a half-game NL Central lead over St. Louis, now trail the Cardinals by 1 1/2 games after St. Louis took two of three weekend games from the Brewers.
Cincinnati starter Aaron Harang (7-4, 3.72 ERA) will look to put his home struggles behind him and win his third straight start. The right-hander is 5-2 with a 1.86 ERA in seven road starts, but only 2-2 with a 6.19 ERA in seven outings at Great American Ball Park.
Harang won his last two starts—both on the road—while giving up five runs and 13 hits in 11 2-3 innings. He enjoyed his finest game of the season at Milwaukee on April 23 when he limited the Brewers to five hits in his second career complete-game shutout, an 11-0 Cincinnati victory.
While Harang has had problems at home, the Brewers will try to end their road woes. Milwaukee has been outscored 42-10 while dropping its last five games away from Miller Park, and is 4-12 in its last 16 road contests.
The Brewers (30-34) didn’t fare too well on their just-completed homestand either, going 4-6 including the weekend series with the Cardinals. Bill Hall went 2-for-5 on Sunday with a homer, a triple and three RBIs but Milwaukee fell 7-5 in a series finale where all the scoring occurred in the first four innings.
“We kept battling back, going back and forth, they just got the lead and their relievers came in and closed out the ball game,” Hall said.
Left-hander Zach Jackson (0-0, 2.45) makes his second career start for the Brewers. The 23-year-old rookie lasted 6 1-3 innings Wednesday against San Diego, allowing four runs—two earned—and 10 hits, not receiving a decision in a 6-5 defeat.
Jackson made his major league debut on June 4, pitching a perfect inning of relief versus Washington and striking out two.