Preview: Reds at Brewers

Preview: Reds at Brewers

The bottom two teams in the National League Central Division will square off when the Milwaukee Brewers host the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night in the opener of a three-game set.

It will be the third straight last-place team faced by Milwaukee, which is 4-6 in August after winning six of seven to close out July.

The Brewers were held to three runs or fewer in seven of their first nine games this month, but they broke out of their offensive malaise in Thursday’s 11-3 mauling of Atlanta. Chris Carter has gone deep in back-to-back games to move within three of his second career 30-homer season.

After winning six consecutive series coming out of the All-Star break, Cincinnati has dropped back-to-back three-game sets at Pittsburgh and St. Louis as it prepares to wrap up a nine-game road trip. Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who has hit safely in 22 of his last 24 games overall, is batting .324 in 10 contests versus Milwaukee this season.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Homer Bailey (1-1, 7.27 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Jimmy Nelson (6-11, 4.02)Bailey took a major step backward in his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery, lasting only three innings and giving up five runs on eight hits in a loss at Pittsburgh. The 30-year-old Bailey had turned in a solid season debut at San Diego on July 31, yielding two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings. Ryan Braun is 12-for-34 with two homers off Bailey, who owns a 4-8 record and 4.86 ERA against Milwaukee.

Nelson is mired in a four-start losing streak, an ugly stretch in which he has been pounded for 25 runs in only 18 innings. The 27-year-old Nelson’s woes continued when he was knocked around for seven runs (six earned) in 4 1/3 innings at Arizona after allowing six runs to San Diego in his previous turn. Nelson can take solace in the fact that he tossed seven scoreless innings in his last win on July 16 at Cincinnati.

WALK-OFFS

1. Milwaukee became the 16th team in league history to score in every inning in Thursday’s romp.

2. Reds C Tucker Barnhart is in the midst of a career-best eight-game hitting streak.

3. Braun is 11-for-30 with four homers and 12 RBIs in his last eight games.

PREDICTION: Brewers 5, Reds 3