Reds-Brewers Preview

The Associated Press

The Milwaukee Brewers are unbeaten when Zack Greinke takes the mound at Miller Park.

Ryan Braun's potential absence combined with Johnny Cueto getting the ball for the Cincinnati Reds may put that streak in serious jeopardy.

Greinke might not have the NL MVP behind him as he goes for another home victory in the conclusion of this three-game set with the Reds on Wednesday afternoon.

Milwaukee (13-17) has won all 20 times Greinke (3-1, 4.11 ERA) has started at Miller Park, including two games during last year's postseason. He even won his only start there as a visitor with Kansas City on June 24, 2007.

In those 20 games for the Brewers, the right-hander is 14-0 with a 3.36 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 126 innings. He gave up four runs - two earned - with 10 strikeouts in six innings without getting a decision in an 8-7 win on July 8 in his lone start against Cincinnati (15-14) during that stretch.

The 2009 AL Cy Young winner is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three home appearances this season, and is 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 28 innings over four career starts against the Reds.

He wasn't very sharp in his most recent trip to the mound, giving up four runs in 5 1-3 innings while not getting a decision in a 6-4 win Friday at San Francisco.

Greinke has received plenty of help during his home winning streak, getting backed by an average of 6.14 runs. That may be an issue if Braun can't play after re-aggravating an Achilles injury on a play in the outfield during Tuesday's 8-3 win over the Reds.

"He was doing pretty good until that play, so we'll see how he is (Wednesday)," manager Ron Roenicke said.

Braun is hitting .306 with nine homers and 20 RBIs, and is 13 for 21 with four homers and eight RBIs in his last five meetings with the Reds. He has five hits, including a home run and a double, in this series.

The All-Star left fielder, however, is just 5 for 22 with four strikeouts against Cueto.

Cueto (4-0, 1.31) is proving last season's solid finish was no fluke by pitching even better to begin 2012. The right-hander hasn't lost since Aug. 6 against the Chicago Cubs, going 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA in 13 starts with Cincinnati winning 11.

Cueto, among baseball's ERA leaders, tossed a seven-hitter in Friday's 6-1 win at Pittsburgh.

"Early in his career he'd always have that bad one inning where his emotions would get out of whack," manager Dusty Baker said. "But now he's learned to settle himself down."

Those struggles have been evident - especially early - in Milwaukee, where he's 0-2 with a 6.86 ERA in four starts. Of the 14 runs he's given up in his last three outings there, 13 have come in the first two innings.

Brandon Phillips appears to enjoy visits to Miller Park since he's batting .373 with six doubles and 14 RBIs in his past 14 games there. The second baseman is 4 for 8 with two doubles in this series after coming in riding a 4-for-28 slump.

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