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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ Cincinnati Reds

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The Brewers hope to keep momentum going in the wildcard race this week in Cincinnati

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in the past week, the Brewers face the last-place Reds, this time in Cincinnati. After the Brewers took 2 of 3 at Miller Park, the Reds went to Chicago and lost four straight to the Chicago Cubs, giving up 7 or more runs in 3 of the 4 games.

Joey Votto was supposed to come off the disabled list on Sunday, but the leg injury he suffered after getting hit by a pitch hasn’t progressed as the team would’ve liked, and it seems unlikely that he’ll be ready for the start of this series -- if he plays at all. As we saw last week, though, the Reds are still capable of putting up plenty of runs even if Votto isn’t in the lineup.

Probable Pitchers

Tuesday - 6:10 p.m. CDT
Junior Guerra vs. Anthony DeSclafani

Wednesday - 6:10 p.m. CDT
Freddy Peralta vs. Matt Harvey

Thursday - 11:35 a.m. CDT
Wade Miley vs. Luis Castillo

DeSclafani had been on an impressive run in August before running into the Cubs buzzsaw in his last start, where he gave up 5 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits over 6 innings. In his three starts this month before that outing, he went at least 7 innings in each start and allowed a grand total of 2 runs. That stretch includes 7 shutout innings on 3 hits with 9 strikeouts against playoff contender Arizona. In all, he’s cut his ERA by 1.21 in a four-start stretch.

The start most people will be watching this week is Wednesday night, when Almost Brewer Matt Harvey will take the mound. The Brewers claimed Harvey on waivers but couldn’t work out a deal with the Reds, who oddly decided to hang on to the free agent-to-be instead of trying to get something back for him. Harvey is extremely unlikely to re-sign with the Reds, and is hoping a strong finish can lure some team into giving him a multi-year deal. He’s been largely bad for much of the season, but has been good in his last three outings, including holding the Cubs to 1 run over 5.1 innings despite his future being up in the air an hour before first pitch.

Castillo has likely been one of the Reds’ biggest disappointments this year. After bursting onto the scene as a rookie last year with a 3.12 ERA in 15 starts, he looked like a young arm the team could build around. While that’s still possible -- he’s only 25 -- he’s struggled to a 5.07 ERA in 26 starts this year, seeing his strikeout rate dip and his home run rate spike. He’s still capable of flashing that talent every once and awhile -- he struck out 9 batters and allowed just one run in 6.2 innings against the Giants on August 19th and threw 7 shutout innings with 9 strikeouts against playoff contender Philadelphia on July 29th -- but the blowup starts have also happened frequently during his sophomore slump. He’s coming off a start in which he gave up 5 runs in just 3.1 innings against the Cubs on Saturday.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference