The Milwaukee Brewers are getting a good look at a revitalized bullpen this weekend. Unfortunately for them, it belongs to their opponent.
Newly-acquired relief pitcher Gary Majewski’s win Friday and closer Eddie Guardado’s fifth straight save Saturday have the Cincinnati Reds looking to complete a three-game sweep of Milwaukee in Sunday’s series finale at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati (52-46) has won seven of nine games since the All-Star break, when the Reds completed two key trades to revamp their relief pitching.
The Reds acquired Majewski and fellow reliever Bill Bray in an eight-player trade with the Washington Nationals and also acquired Guardado from the Seattle Mariners. Guardado has converted all five of his save opportunities including the Reds’ 8-7 win over Milwaukee Saturday.
“Things are going our way right now,” Guardado said. “Hopefully they’ll continue to go our way into October. I’ve been lucky. There’s still a long way to go. We’re going to hit some bumps, but I don’t want to make the bumps too big.”
Majewski pitched the ninth inning of Friday’s opener for his first win in Cincinnati as the Reds rallied from a two-run deficit to win 6-5.
The Reds’ bullpen is 4-1 with a 3.60 ERA since the All-Star break while converting five of six save opportunities.
“We know what kind of pitchers we have,” Reds catcher Javier Valentin said. “They know what kind of roles they have, and they prepare for their opportunity. Maybe that’s the reason we’ve started pitching a lot better.”
Meanwhile, Milwaukee (46-52) relievers have a league-high 5.11 ERA. Derrick Turnbow blew his fourth consecutive save opportunity to take the loss Friday, prompting manager Ned Yost to announce right-hander Dan Kolb will serve as closer “until Derrick gets back on track. I don’t know how long that will be— a week or a couple of days.”
The Brewers have lost nine of their last 11 games to fall a season-low six games below .500.
Right-hander Tomo Ohka (2-1, 3.23 ERA) will try to help Milwaukee avoid a fifth straight loss in his second start since returning from the disabled list.
Ohka, who had been out since May 1 with a partially torn right rotator cuff, returned to pitch five innings of last Tuesday’s 4-3 Brewers’ loss to the San Francisco Giants. He failed to get the decision after allowing two runs and six hits.
Ohka is 4-2 with a 3.63 ERA in nine career starts against Cincinnati.
The Reds counter with left-hander Eric Milton (6-5, 5.48), who will look to bounce back from a rough outing in Tuesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Mets. Milton allowed seven runs in seven innings, failing to win his third straight start.
“I felt good,” he said. “It just didn’t work out … It came down to one pitch, and it was bad.”
Milton is 3-2 with a 3.69 ERA in six career starts against Milwaukee.
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