Off to their worst start ever, the task doesn’t get any easier for the struggling Cincinnati Reds as they open a three-game series against the division-leading Brewers on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
Right-hander Tyler Mahle (1-3, 6.45 ERA) starts for the Reds, while the Brewers counter with right-hander Brandon Woodruff (2-1, 5.30). Both teams were off on Monday.
The Reds lost 10-1 at Colorado on Sunday, their 17th loss in the last 18 games. Cincinnati’s 3-19 start is the worst in franchise history. The Reds already are 11 1/2 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central.
“We really just need to play better in all areas,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Our focus is turning this around, that’s it. Getting this going in the right direction. I believe so much in what we’re doing as a team, as an organization. We’ve made so much progress and I just want to keep helping contribute to pushing that forward.”
After scoring 20 runs and hitting nine homers in the first two games of its series against the Cubs, Milwaukee lost to Chicago 2-0 on Sunday, the Brewers’ third shutout loss of the season. The Brewers have scored two or fewer runs in seven of their eight losses.
Mahle, who will be making his sixth start, gave up three runs on six hits over a season-high 5 1/3 innings of his most recent outing Thursday at home against the San Diego Padres. Cincinnati dropped a 7-5 decision.
In eight career starts against the Brewers, Mahle is 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA over 42 innings. He was 1-0 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts against them last season.
Reds first baseman Joey Votto is batting .312 with 21 homers and 65 RBIs in 102 career games in Milwaukee.
After allowing no runs in 11 innings in his two previous starts, Woodruff allowed four runs on seven hits in four innings in his last outing, but did not get a decision in the Brewers’ 12-8 win at Pittsburgh.
“Woody just wasn’t quite on today,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after that game. “His fastball didn’t feel as electric as it usually does. He used his changeup to kind of get through four innings, I thought really well. And then they got some action in the fifth, and his pitch count was kind of getting there.”
Despite Woodruff having just one quality start, the Brewers are 3-1 in games he has taken the mound, winning the last three.
Woodruff, an All-Star last season, is 4-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 11 career appearances vs. the Reds, including nine starts. He was 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA in three starts against the Reds last season, allowing just two earned runs and striking out 22 in 17 2/3 innings.
The Brewers won the season series last year, 10-9, but the Reds won seven of 10 at Milwaukee.
After concluding a six-game homestand with the series against Cincinnati, the Brewers head out for a nine-game road swing to Atlanta, Cincinnati and Miami.
–Field Level Media