Reds-Brewers Preview

When they swept the Milwaukee Brewers to open the season, the
Cincinnati Reds appeared primed for a run at a second straight NL
Central title.

That may still happen, but the Reds are presently reeling.

Bronson Arroyo will try to avoid a personal three-game slide and
help Cincinnati continue its recent dominance of the Brewers when
the teams open a three-game series at Miller Park on Monday
night.

The Reds (11-11) outscored Milwaukee (11-10) 23-11 in a
three-game sweep at home March 31-April 3, batting .350 with eight
homers during those games.

Cincinnati extended its start to 5-0, but has since dropped 11
of 17 while batting .239.

The Reds dropped two of three at St. Louis over the weekend,
culminating with a 3-0 loss Sunday night in which they managed four
hits.

Perhaps another series with the Brewers can get Cincinnati back
on track. The Reds have won 18 of the last 21 meetings in this
division rivalry, including seven of nine in Milwaukee.

Arroyo (2-2, 4.24 ERA) helped the Reds complete the sweep of the
Brewers on April 3, yielding three runs in seven innings of a 12-3
victory.

The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.02 ERA in his last five starts
at Miller Park, but hasn’t been sharp in losing his last two games
overall, giving up eight runs in 10 1-3 innings.

“There are times when they come easy and it seems like they’re
just going to keep coming,” Arroyo told the Reds’ official website.
“You know eventually that you’re going to go down the other side of
the mountain. Those are the times you have to come to the ballpark
and try to simplify things.”

Joey Votto is one Cincinnati player who is still hitting well.
The reigning NL MVP had a double and two walks Sunday, increasing
his batting average to .395 and his on-base percentage to .515.

Votto is batting .409 with six homers and 19 RBIs in his last 18
games versus the Brewers. He’s 4 for 7 with a home run off Chris
Narveson (1-0, 2.19), Milwaukee’s scheduled starter for Monday.

The Brewers, meanwhile, enter this series on an offensive
tear.

Milwaukee has batted .332, scored 42 runs and swatted nine
homers while winning four of its last six games, including a 4-1
victory over Houston on Sunday.

Ryan Braun has been a big part of the surge, batting .480 with
three homers and nine RBIs over the last six games. Braun, who
signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension Thursday, has
reached base safely in 21 consecutive games to start the season – a
club record.

He was 4 for 11 with a pair of solo homers in the last series
with the Reds.

Narveson (1-0, 2.19) could use Braun’s help. He’s received three
total runs of support in two starts versus Cincinnati, going 0-1
despite a 3.18 ERA in those outings.

The left-hander hasn’t received a decision in his last two
starts – both Milwaukee road defeats – while allowing six runs in
11 2-3 innings.

He was much better in his first two starts at home, tossing 13
scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts.