While star Ryan Braun remains mired in controversy, the Milwaukee Brewers are in position to sweep their first series in almost three months.
They’ll look to keep their collective focus and accomplish that feat by handing the Reds a sixth consecutive loss at Miller Park on Wednesday.
Wily Peralta tossed a three-hitter and Logan Schafer hit his first career homer – a two-run shot – in Milwaukee’s 2-0 victory Tuesday.
The Brewers (37-52) have not won three straight since a four-game run June 7-10, and last swept a series April 19-21 from the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park.
Milwaukee’s latest victory came in Braun’s return from missing a month with a thumb injury. The former MVP went 1 for 3, but his return was overshadowed amid word he could be facing a suspension for allegedly failing to cooperate with the investigation of the Biogenesis case.
“We are still in the midst of an active investigation,” MLB spokesperson Pat Courtney told the league’s official website.
Braun is batting .304 with nine homers and 36 RBIs in 58 games, but is 3 for 15 versus Cincinnati (50-40) this season.
The Reds have allowed nine runs but scored only four during their three-game slide. They’ve hit .203 and managed nine runs while losing five in a row at Milwaukee.
“The only left-handed hitter in the lineup hits a home run,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said Tuesday. “When you’re not going too good, these things happen.”
Shin-Soo Choo had one of three Cincinnati hits, and is batting .345 in his last seven games.
Joey Votto, 2 for 14 in the last four, had his nine-game hitting streak at Miller Park end with an 0-for-3 night Tuesday.
Cincinnati’s Mike Leake (7-4, 2.73 ERA) takes the mound looking to bounce back after he allowed four runs and two homers in five innings of a 4-2 loss to Seattle on Friday. He was 5-1 with a 1.31 ERA in his previous nine starts.
“It’s one game,” Leake told the Reds’ official website. “I’ve been throwing the ball well so far. Get rid of (Friday’s game).”
The right-hander has not faced the Brewers since 2011, when he posted a 4.91 ERA without a decision in three starts against them.
Milwaukee counters with Johnny Hellweg (0-2, 12.79), who hopes to rebound from Friday when he gave up seven runs – three earned – and seven hits with five walks in 3 2-3 innings of a 12-5 loss to the New York Mets in his second career start and first at home.
The right-hander has allowed 14 runs – eight earned – in 5 1-3 innings of his two starts.
“The potential he has is the stuff that he has,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “He has a great fastball, a real good moving fastball. He’s got a nice breaking ball. But he has to command those pitches. Unless you can command them in the big leagues, you’re not going to do well.”
Schafer has batted .300 (9 for 30) with five extra-base hits and five RBIs in eight games.
Cincinnati’s Chris Heisey will not play after he was hit on the elbow with a pitch Tuesday.