Brewers-Reds Preview

The Milwaukee Brewers picked up a rare road win in the middle

game of their series with the Cincinnati Reds. To cap it off with

another, all they want is Shaun Marcum to keep repeating what he’s

been doing away from home.

The majors’ most impressive road starter has a 0.53 ERA in five

outings away from Miller Park since his season debut in Cincinnati,

a loss he’ll try to avenge in Wednesday night’s series finale.

Milwaukee (30-25) came into Cincinnati a major league-best 15-4

since May 9, but only two of those victories came on the road,

where manager Ron Roenicke’s team was a woeful 8-17.

The Brewers lost again Monday, falling to 1-12 in their last 13

games at Great American Ball Park, but evened the series Tuesday.

Milwaukee fell behind in the first inning, but Corey Hart’s

three-run homer in the third was all the offense it would need in a

7-2 victory.

“Oh, these guys are tough,” Hart said of the Reds, who had won

six of the series’ first seven meetings. “We play a lot of teams

good, but for some reason this team is our nemesis. It’s always a

struggle. Especially playing them here is tough.”

It’s Cincinnati that has a rather difficult task Wednesday,

however. Marcum (6-2, 2.80 ERA) has given up two earned runs in 34

innings, striking out 27 and walking only five in his dominant road

stretch, but has only three victories in that span.

He walked five in his first start in a Brewers uniform, though,

when he lasted only 4 2-3 innings and gave up four runs April 2 in

a 4-2 loss at Cincinnati (28-28). Scott Rolen, Marcum’s former

teammate in Toronto, hit a two-run homer in the first inning.

Marcum had won six consecutive decisions heading into Friday’s

visit from San Francisco, and he appeared to be on his way to

extending that streak. But holding a 3-1 lead against Tim Lincecum

and the Giants in the seventh inning, Marcum gave up a grand slam

to rookie Brandon Crawford, the deciding blow in a 5-4 loss.

“It came middle, down in and that’s what you’re supposed to do

with mistake pitches,” Marcum said.

Cincinnati counters with Mike Leake (4-2, 5.10), who’s back in

the rotation after spending two weeks in the minors to work on his

control. Leake surrendered three walks and seven hits over six

innings Friday in Atlanta, but allowed only one run in a 5-1

victory.

“His whole life he hasn’t had any trouble throwing strikes,”

manager Dusty Baker told the Reds’ official website of Leake. “All

of a sudden, he was not as aggressive in the strike zone. That’s

the one thing (I told him to work on). I said, ‘Hey man, throw

strikes and put the ball in play.'”

Leake’s lone start against the Brewers came April 26 at Miller

Park. Solo homers to Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder were the only

damage Leake surrendered over seven innings, but he left without a

decision in Milwaukee’s 3-2 win.

The Brewers won Tuesday despite Braun and Fielder going 0 for 7

without an RBI, but Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce kept on rolling at the

plate. Bruce drove in a run for the ninth time in 10 games, a

stretch in which he’s hitting .391 with six homers and 18 RBIs.

Bruce’s 12 homers and 33 RBIs in May were both major league

bests. He’s a .413 career hitter with 11 homers in 18 games against

the Brewers in Cincinnati.