CINCINNATI — Scott Feldman worked extensively on his changeup during spring training and he has had success with that pitch in his two starts to begin this season.
The veteran right-hander is scheduled to make his third start for the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park.
Feldman, 34, pitched six shutout innings on Sunday with a walk and six strikeouts in an 8-0 win at St. Louis. He used his changeup sparingly but effectively, and expects to do so again Friday against a young Brewers lineup, many of whom have never faced him.
“When you can show you can throw it for a strike … it’s always in the back of the hitters’ heads,” said Feldman of his changeup. “It makes my other three pitches more effective.”
Friday night’s outing will be Feldman’s fifth career start against the Brewers, all of which came at Miller Park, and for three different teams. He hasn’t faced them since the first week of last season. Feldman is 2-2 in his career versus Milwaukee with a 3.43 ERA and eight earned runs allowed in 21 innings.
After extensive bullpen use during the first week, Milwaukee has strung together a few quality starts to give their relievers a break.
“We pitched outstanding three days in a row, which helps us for tomorrow,” manager Craig Counsell said following Thursday’s 5-1 win over the Reds.
Jimmy Nelson allowed just one run over seven innings on Thursday, and the Brewers are hoping for more of the same from left-hander Tommy Milone on Friday night.
Milone is making his third appearance and second start of the season. He allowed four earned runs in the Brewers’ 11-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs last Saturday. He made his Brewers debut on Opening Day versus Colorado with two innings of work in which he allowed two earned runs on six hits, including a homer.
Milone, 30, is hoping to make the most of his opportunity in Milwaukee after signing as a free agent in December.
“You never know. Your job here is so precious,” Milone said. “You want to go out there and make the most of your opportunity, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go out there and battle, and try to stay in the rotation as long as I can.”
Milone has faced Cincinnati just once in his career, earning a no-decision for the Oakland A’s in a 7-3 win over the Reds on June 25, 2013.
As always, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun will be looking forward to taking his cuts against Reds pitching, particularly in Great American Ball Park.
Including his two-run home run on Thursday night, Braun has 36 career homers versus Cincinnati pitching, 21 of those coming at Great American.
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart went 3-for-3 on Thursday to extend his hitting streak to eight games to begin the season. He hit in 10 straight to begin last season.
Milwaukee’s victory on Thursday snapped the Reds’ four-game winning streak and gives the Brewers a leg up in the series. The Brewers now have won three straight, but the Reds still have taken seven of the past 11 games against their NL Central rivals.