Slumping Brewers, Reds meet for first time this season

MLB

While it’s been a rough week for the Cincinnati Reds, the Milwaukee Brewers’ recent struggles have lingered throughout the month of May.

Losers of a combined six in a row, the Brewers and Reds meet for the first time this season on Friday night in Cincinnati.

On May 1, Milwaukee was 17-10 and amid a three-game winning streak. However, the Brewers are 4-12 since then and were just swept in a two-game set at Kansas City. A loser in five of six, Milwaukee has hit .209, averaged 3.0 runs and posted a 4.50 ERA over the last 16 contests.

“Wins have been hard to come by,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It takes all four phases — starting, relieving, defense and offense — to put wins together. It probably takes three of those to sync up to win, and we just haven’t been doing that enough lately.”

Milwaukee, which has lost seven of its last nine on the road, went 4-6 against Cincinnati last season. However, these Reds are four games under .500, have lost six of eight and were just outscored 33-9 while being swept by San Francisco during a four-game home series.

“We just have to bounce back,” Reds manager David Bell told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Persistence, and just staying after it is really what it’s all about. That’s what we’re up against right now.”

Adrian Houser (3-4, 3.63 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Brewers in this series opener. The right-hander lasted a season-low three innings while yielding two runs, two hits and a 2021-high five walks, while also hitting a batter, during a 6-3 home loss to Atlanta last Friday.

Houser, though, is 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA through four road starts this season. He’s 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three career starts at Cincinnati. Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez are a combined 14-for-32 with six home runs versus Houser.

Castellanos (.338 and Winker (.343) are two of the top hitters in the majors, with the former 15-for-28 with five RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.

Cincinnati starting pitchers, however, have an 8.91 ERA over the last eight games. Tyler Mahle yielded seven runs while recording just six outs before being pulled in Thursday’s 19-4 loss to the Giants.

Scheduled Cincinnati starter Jeff Hoffman (2-3, 4.67 ERA) looks to halt a stretch where he’s yielded 15 runs — 12 earned, 14 hits and 11 walks over 14 1/3 innings to go 0-2 over his last four starts. The right-hander went 2-1 while allowing six earned runs and walking seven over 20 1/3 innings of his first four 2021 starts.

Hoffman has a 2.70 ERA without a decision in his two starts against the Brewers, but he hasn’t faced them since 2019. Milwaukee star Christian Yelich has a hit in two at-bats versus Hoffman, but is 0-for-6 with three walks in the last two games since coming off the injured list with a lower-back strain.

Teammate Kolten Wong, however, is 6-for-13 in his last three games. He’s also a .293 career hitter at Cincinnati.

The Reds announced Thursday that veteran Mike Moustakas was placed on the injured list with a heel issue.

–Field Level Media

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