Milwaukee (55-43) at Cincinnati (41-58)

Fair Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 40° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Mon Jul 23, 2007
  • TV: FSWI, FSOH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

If the Milwaukee Brewers want to extend their NL Central lead, they’ll have to give Chris Capuano more offensive support than he’s seen over much of the last two months.

Capuano and the Brewers will try to end their recent struggles as they kick off a key road trip against division rivals on Monday night against ace Aaron Harang and the Cincinnati Reds.

Milwaukee (55-43), which begins play with a 3 1/2-game lead over the second-place Chicago Cubs, has the worst road record among major league division leaders at 19-26. Following this four-game series, the Brewers will meet the St. Louis Cardinals for four games including a day-night doubleheader on Saturday.

Capuano (5-6, 4.96 ERA) will try once again to end a lengthy winless drought.

The left-hander was 5-0 with a 2.31 ERA after a 3-0 home win over Washington on May 7. In 10 outings since, Capuano has gone 0-6 with a 7.02 ERA, and Milwaukee has lost all of those games while providing him with just 15 runs of support.

Capuano’s numbers on the road over that stretch have been more dismal - 0-4 with a 9.58 ERA in five starts.

Against Arizona at home on Wednesday, though, Capuano allowed just two runs and four hits over seven innings - his longest outing since June 2. He failed to get a decision in the 5-2 loss, but credited an adjustment to his delivery for the successful effort.

“I’ve been struggling the last month, so it just felt good to get out there and actually know what the seventh inning feels like again,” Capuano told the Brewers’ official Web site. “It’s certainly frustrating that we didn’t win, but I’m happy I was able to at least keep us in the game.”

Capuano is 2-0 with a 3.79 ERA in three career starts in Cincinnati. He pitched 5 2-3 solid innings to earn the win in Milwaukee’s 10-6 victory on April 16 at Great American Ball Park.

Milwaukee avoided a three-game sweep at home by lowly San Francisco after holding on for a 7-5 win over the Giants on Sunday. Rookie Ryan Braun and Corey Hart hit two-run homers in the first inning off Barry Zito to stake the Brewers to a 4-0 lead.

“He’s making it really, really hard to take him out of the lineup,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said of Braun, who has 15 homers and is batting .338 since being called up on May 25.

While Capuano hasn’t been able to get back into the win column, Harang (10-2, 3.63) looks to keep a lengthy unbeaten streak alive for last-place Cincinnati (41-58). In 11 starts since a road loss to Cleveland on May 20, the right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.68 ERA, and the Reds have gone 9-2 in that stretch.

Harang didn’t get a decision in the Reds’ 5-4 win in 15 innings over Atlanta on Tuesday. He was tagged for 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings, but allowed only two runs and struck out eight.

The right-hander, who’s returning from a stint on the bereavement list after the death of his grandfather, will face Milwaukee for the first time this season. In 11 career starts against Milwaukee, Harang is 4-3 with a 4.98 ERA.

Cincinnati lost 9-3 to Florida on Sunday and was outscored 30-6 in losing the final three games of that series. Jeff Keppinger hit a two-run homer in the first inning and set a career high with four hits in the latest loss.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Capuano Bos vs. A. Harang Atl
5-12 Record 16-6
5.10 ERA 3.73
132 K 218
54 BB 52
1.49 WHIP 1.14

Scoreboard

Monday, Jul 23