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Series Preview: Cincinnati Reds @ Milwaukee Brewers

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The Brewers head home needing to string a few wins together, and there may not be a better opponent to do it against.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

When the Cincinnati Reds fired Bryan Price early in the year, they were off to a 3-15 start, one of the worst in team history. After a brief surge, the Reds look to be falling back to their true selves, falling to 14 games under .500 at 55-69 -- and that record has the benefit of a weekend sweep in San Francisco.

Before that, the Reds were off to a 4-10 start in August, and Joey Votto is currently on the disabled list. Still on the active roster is Brewer Killer Eugenio Suarez, who is in the midst of a breakout All-Star year and is evolving into an Every Team Killer with a line of .297/.378/.557, 27 home runs and 20 doubles while driving in 91 runs with a little more than a month to go. Scooter Gennett is also still there, hitting .314/.363/.495 with 18 home runs and 26 doubles. The other non-Votto infielder in the lineup, Jose Peraza also seems to be putting it together, hitting .292/.334/.412 with 26 doubles of his own.

Even without Votto, it’s a lineup that can put up runs in a hurry, as the Giants found out when they were outscored 20-6 in those three games.

Probable Pitchers

Monday - 7:10 p.m. CDT
Homer Bailey vs. Chase Anderson

Tuesday - 7:10 p.m. CDT
Sal Romano vs. Junior Guerra

Wednesday - 1:10 p.m. CDT
Robert Stephenson vs. Freddy Peralta

Despite their success over the weekend, the Reds still largely struggle when it comes to pitching effectively.

After what looked to be a mild comeback the last time we saw him, Homer Bailey has effectively proved he’s done. Won-loss record is a terrible way to judge a pitcher, in part because Bailey has been so, so much worse than the 1-10 record he has in 16 starts. In 85.1 innings, he’s allowed 110 hits, 60 earned runs, and 18 home runs with just 59 strikeouts, all adding up to a 6.33 ERA. He’s given up a total of 21 hits and 10 earned runs in his last two starts. The last time the Brewers faced him, they tagged him for 5 runs in 5 innings -- at that time, the worst outing he’d had on the season. He’s gone on to allow 5 or more runs a total of 6 times.

The Brewers have also hit Romano hard in his short major league career. He comes into this series with a 5.31 ERA, allowing 21 home runs in 123.2 innings, carrying a FIP of 5.16 and an ERA+ of 78 (a reminder, 100 is average, meaning he’s been 22% worse than the average pitcher). He’s actually held the Brewers to 2 earned runs in both of his outings against him this year, but he still carries a career 5.70 ERA in 23.2 innings (5 starts) against the Cream City Nine. He’s coming off of a start in which he allowed 6 runs and couldn’t get out of the 2nd inning against Cleveland.

A former top prospect, the 25-year-old Stephenson was called up the majors earlier this month after putting up a 2.87 ERA with 135 strikeouts over 113 innings in Triple-A. His return to the majors hasn’t gone well. In two starts, he’s gone a total of 5.2 innings after getting pulled in the 2nd inning of his last start, and he’s walked 9 batters between those two starts. He does have good strikeout stuff -- as his minor league numbers show, and he struck out 86 in 84.2 innings last year -- but he still clearly struggles with his control from time to time. The good and the bad were on display last September, when he held the Brewers to 1 earned run over 6 innings and struck out 7 but also walked 5.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference