These NL Central bullpens have combined for 17 innings in the first two games, but relief may not be in sight with the Brewers' Wily Peralta set to face the Reds' Bronson Arroyo in Sunday's finale in Cincinnati.
The only starter in this series to last past the fourth inning was the Reds' Mat Latos, but he gave up seven runs over six frames in Saturday's 13-7 win. Opposing pitcher Hiram Burgos became the fourth starter in Brewers' history to allow 12 runs.
Manager Ron Roenicke left Burgos in for three innings to try to preserve his relievers.
"I don't ever want to do that to somebody again,'' he said. "We're hurting in the bullpen."
Cincinnati (21-16) opened this series with a 4-3 victory Friday. Starters Yovani Gallardo for Milwaukee (15-19) and Tony Cingrani of the Reds each lasted four innings.
Milwaukee's bullpen has yielded two runs over nine innings while Cincinnati's has allowed one over eight. Only one reliever for either team has appeared in both games - Brewers left-hander Michael Gonzalez.
The Brewers added a reliever Saturday when they recalled right-hander Mike Fiers from Single-A Brevard County to replace Tom Gorzelanny, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
The Reds may be able to count on some length Sunday from Arroyo (2-4, 4.30 ERA), who is second on the team with 44 1-3 innings although it's uncertain what the quality of them will be Sunday. He's winless over four outings, going 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA and three straight defeats.
The veteran right-hander went 2-2 with a 4.26 ERA in five starts last season against the Brewers.
Milwaukee's lone victory in its last nine games was by Peralta (3-2, 5.54), who allowed three runs over six innings Tuesday in a 6-3 win over Texas.
The rookie right-hander has allowed left-handers to hit .347 against him. His lone previous start against the Reds came Sept. 27 when he pitched 5 1-3 scoreless innings in a 2-1 loss.
Jay Bruce went 0 for 2 in that contest, but the left-handed slugger is showing signs of life. Bruce has homered in two of his last three games after going deep once in his first 34 contests, and went 3 for 5 with a solo homer Saturday.
"It's a long season," said Bruce, who led the Reds with 34 homers in 2012. "I'm trying to get pitches to hit. Lately, I've been missing them less."
Manager Dusty Baker's club has won nine of its last 11 at home against the Brewers, but he's never comfortable facing them.
"You've got to get a lot of run support,'' Baker said. "Those guys can hit. You've got to keep scoring and scoring and scoring."
Baker has come away impressed with shortstop Jean Segura, who is 6 for 9 with two solo homers in this series.
"With Segura, you've got to score even more,'' Baker said. "He's a heck of a player."
Brewers leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki has 14 hits in his last 31 at-bats, going 4 for 8 in this series.