MILWAUKEE — After snapping out of an offensive funk Thursday with an 11-3 rout over the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers will try to keep things rolling when they open a three-game series in Milwaukee against their National League Central rival, the Cincinnati Reds.
To do that, they'll need Jimmy Nelson to snap out of his own recent funk.
He will take the mound Friday night looking to win for the first time in five starts. He has lost each of his last four starts, posting an 8.00 ERA during that stretch while allowing 16 earned runs in 18 innings of work.
“He's not where he we wants to be or where we want him to be,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “Things are snowballing a little bit. We have to get more quality pitches. Every pitcher goes through this, there is going to be stuff that goes on, and you have to move on to the next pitch. That's the game. Jimmy's preparation is second to none.”
Nelson hasn't made it out of the fifth inning in any of those outings and hasn't made it past the sixth in 11 of his last 12. He allowed six earned runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings his last time out, striking out four, with three walks, two hit batters and a wild pitch in a 9-3 loss to Arizona.
“I'm just trying to stay positive at this point,” Nelson said. “Most of the stuff in that game was my fault. The three-run inning (fourth). Got balls up that got away from me.”
Homer Bailey will make his third start of the season for the Reds, who arrive in Milwaukee with a .500 mark in their last 16 games and 5-5 against the Brewers this season.
Bailey missed the first four months of the 2016 season while still recovering from Tommy John surgery performed in May 2015. He took the victory in his debut, allowing just two runs over 5 2/3 innings against the Padres on July 31, but he only lasted three innings his last time out and was charged with five runs on eight hits and a walk with four strikeouts in a 5-3 loss at Pittsburgh.
“Luckily the bullpen did a great job today, the starter just wasn't worth a damn,” Bailey said after the game.
Manager Bryan Price said after the game that it wasn't uncommon for a pitcher to show that kind of inconsistency after returning from such a major procedure.
“This is a part of the recovery,” Price said. “He didn't feel as electric in Game 2 as he did in Game 1 last week in San Diego, and that's probably going to be a part of what this looks like every now and again over the course of the rest of the season as he gets his arm really back into 100 percent pitching shape. It's certainly something I anticipated along the way and hoped we wouldn't see it for a little while. Today just wasn't his best stuff.”
Friday will mark Bailey's 22nd career start against the Brewers, against whom he is 4-8 with a 4.86 ERA, including a 2-3 mark with a 4.80 ERA in 10 career starts at Miller Park.