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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ Cincinnati Reds

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The Brewers hope Reds pitching is the cure for whatever’s ailing their bats after a weekend in Chicago

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

For the past couple years, whenever the Brewers hit a rough spot offensively, the Cincinnati Reds have been there to help pick them up.

It’s very considerate of them, and they’re coming up on the schedule at a good time again. But this time, Eric Thames will be on the disabled list and won’t be around to carry the Brewers like he has against the Reds, as recently as earlier this month when his pair of 2-run homers carried the team to two 2-0 wins.

This past weekend wasn’t much fun to watch, but if there’s good news, it’s that the pitching has been lights-out. That should hopefully continue against a Reds offense that has frequently looked overmatched this year, including the back-to-back shutouts that closed out the previous series between these two teams.

With that said, the Reds aren’t struggling as much as the last time the Brewers saw them. While they were able to snap an 8-game losing streak in their series opener against the Brewers, they went on to lose another 5 straight after that win. But they rebounded after that, splitting a four-game series with Atlanta and winning a series in Minneapolis against the Twins. The Reds are still just 7-21 on the year, but they’ve still won 4 games in the past week.

Since the last time we saw them, Scooter Gennett has started hitting for more power, getting his line back up to .301/.347/.416 and noted Brewer Killer Eugenio Suarez is off the DL and back in the lineup. Joey Votto is also hitting a more Votto-ian .273/.397/.414.

Probable Pitchers

Monday - 6:10 p.m. CDT
Jhoulys Chacin vs. Brandon Finnegan

Tuesday - 6:10 p.m. CDT
Chase Anderson vs. Homer Bailey

Wednesday - 6:10 p.m. CDT
Wade Miley vs. Luis Castillo

Finnegan is getting off to a late start in the 2018 season after suffering a biceps injury, and it’s looked like he’s been rusty on the mound after also only making 4 starts due to injury last year. He’ll be making his 4th start of 2018 against the Brewers tonight. The first two weren’t very good -- 5 earned runs in 4.1 innings and 4 earned runs in 3 innings, both against the Cardinals -- but he bounced back for a better outing in his last start against Atlanta with 2 earned runs in 5 innings against the Braves, but new manager Jim Riggleman gave him a quick hook.

Bailey is getting off to an okay start to the season, especially considering how cooked he’s looked the past couple years. He has a 4.19 ERA on the season after 6 starts, although that number has gone up in the past couple outings, which includes 4 earned runs in 5 innings in his last start against the Braves. He’s not striking out a ton of batters anymore -- 21 in 34.1 innings so far -- and he’s already given up 6 home runs, 4 of which coming in his past two starts.

Miley will make his Brewers debut against a guy who had been the Brewers’ kryptonite before he gave up 4 runs in 6.2 innings earlier this month. But all of that damage done against Castillo was in his final inning of work, and two of the earned runs charged to him were actually given up be reliever Cody Reed. Before that inning, Castillo had held the Brewers to 2 hits with 2 outs in the 7th inning with 8 strikeouts and no runs. In 3 starts against the Brewers in his short career, Castillo has held the Brewers to a .194/.253/.306 line. Only the Diamondbacks have faced Castillo more than once and have a worse OPS against him, hitting .156/.188/.311 in 2 games.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference