Reds-Brewers Preview


Homer Bailey was unhittable his last time out.

That hasn't been the case when the Cincinnati Reds right-hander has faced the Milwaukee Brewers.

Six days after tossing baseball's first no-hitter of the year, Bailey gets the ball Monday night when these NL Central foes play at Miller Park for the first time this season.

After going 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in his previous three outings, Bailey (5-6, 3.57 ERA) struck out nine and walked just one in Tuesday's 3-0 victory over San Francisco. It was the first no-hitter since he threw one Sept. 28, at Pittsburgh.

"To do it once is extra special," said Bailey, who joined Jim Maloney and Johnny Vander Meer as the only Reds with multiple no-hitters. "To do it twice - I don't really have the words for it right now.''

Bailey, who will be pitching on an extra days' rest with Thursday's game against the Giants postponed, isn't even entertaining the thought of joining Vander Meer as the only major leaguer to throw back-to-back no-hitters. Vander Meer pulled that off in 1938.

"You can't go into the game thinking about it," Bailey said. "The first guy will probably get a hit, and that will be the end of it."

That's a possibility the way Brewers leadoff man Norichika Aoki is swinging the bat. He's 14 for 33 (.424) while hitting safely in seven straight.

Aoki went 1 for 4 with a double off Bailey in Milwaukee's 6-0 victory June 15. Bailey was tagged for six runs and eight hits in seven innings in that contest, dropping his career record against the Brewers to 1-6 with a 6.00 ERA in 12 starts. It's his worst ERA against any team he's faced more than seven times.

Milwaukee (35-52), though, has dropped nine of 12 following Sunday's 2-1 loss to the New York Mets.

The Brewers could get a better result with Kyle Lohse (4-6, 3.43) on the mound. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA in last six starts after striking out a season-high seven in Wednesday's 4-1 road win over Washington. Pitching on two days' rest after his previous outing at Pittsburgh was cut short due to a lengthy rain delay, Lohse fell short in his bid for a ninth complete game.

"I want to finish it, (but) it's tough to do," he told the Brewers' official website after yielding one run in eight innings. "You just want to go out and have a quality start."

Lohse is 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in his last seven starts against the Reds. Facing them for the first time in a Brewers uniform, Lohse permitted three runs - one earned - in six innings of a 4-3, 10-inning loss June 14.

The Reds (50-38), losers of seven of nine outside Cincinnati, open their seven-game trip after dropping two of three to Seattle.

"We hit the ball a lot harder than the scorebook showed,'' manager Dusty Baker said after his team had six hits in Sunday's 3-1 loss. "We didn't have a lot to show for it. I tell the guys to just keep swinging the bats.''

All-Star starters Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips hit a combined .244 (11 for 45) with 10 strikeouts on the just-completed 4-2 homestand. Votto is 5 for 19 and Phillips is 4 for 26 with a homer as the Reds have a 5-1 record against Milwaukee this season.

Jay Bruce, who is mired in a 2-for-20 slump, leads Cincinnati with three homers and six RBIs in those contests.

The Reds lost four of six at Milwaukee last season.