The Cincinnati Reds have captured all three previous series against the Milwaukee Brewers but they can’t feel good about their chances of opening this one on the right foot.
The Reds are mired in a six-game road losing streak and starter Mat Latos has never won at Miller Park heading into Monday night’s opener of a three-game set.
Cincinnati (51-47) is 7-3 against Milwaukee but comes to town enduring its longest road slide since an eight-game losing streak April 9-27, 2013.
The Reds, playing without injured sluggers Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, totaled six runs while striking out 31 times with three walks in getting swept in a three-game road series against the New York Yankees over the weekend. They went 1 for 22 with runners in scoring position.
"They just outplayed us," manager Bryan Price said. "Some of the things that happened in the series (were) unfortunate."
The lack of offense is putting pressure on the starters, and that’s nothing new for Latos (2-1, 2.79 ERA) in Milwaukee. His teams have totaled six runs of support in five outings at Miller Park, where he’s 0-3 with a 3.34 ERA.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 0.90 ERA in three road outings this year.
Latos is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts against Milwaukee (54-45) this season, and he’s limited Ryan Braun to two hits in 20 at-bats all-time with six strikeouts.
Braun is 12 for 31 during an eight-game hitting streak for the Brewers, who have dropped 13 of 16 to create a tight situation in the NL Central with every team except the last-place Chicago Cubs in striking distance of the division lead.
Milwaukee has led or held a share of first place in the Central every day since April 5.
"Our focus has to be on ourselves," Braun told the Brewers’ official website. "We’re obviously aware of the fact there’s three teams behind us that are really good teams, but we need to play good baseball to have an opportunity to continue to be in first place. I don’t think it’s so much about where we are right now, it’s about playing good baseball."
Wily Peralta (10-6, 3.72), who starts Monday, is one of two Milwaukee starters to defeat Cincinnati this year with eight stellar innings in a 2-0 road win May 2. He improved to 2-3 with a 3.14 ERA in seven career starts against the Reds.
The right-hander has had trouble with Chris Heisey, who is 5 for 10 against him. Todd Frazier has a double in eight at-bats versus Peralta while Jay Bruce, hitless in his last 15 at-bats, is 3 for 16 off Peralta.
Frazier is hitting .341 with 11 RBIs in the season series but the Reds will sorely miss Phillips, who is 15 for 32 with seven RBIs.
The Reds got a boost in Sunday’s 3-2 defeat with the return of Skip Schumaker, who went 2 for 3 after being reinstated from the seven-day concussion disabled list.
Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy is hitting .351 in the season series but he’s mired in a 5-for-38 slump.