Reds-Brewers Preview

When they swept the Milwaukee Brewers to open the season, the

Cincinnati Reds appeared primed for a run at a second straight NL

Central title.

That may still happen, but the Reds are presently reeling.

Bronson Arroyo will try to avoid a personal three-game slide and

help Cincinnati continue its recent dominance of the Brewers when

the teams open a three-game series at Miller Park on Monday

night.

The Reds (11-11) outscored Milwaukee (11-10) 23-11 in a

three-game sweep at home March 31-April 3, batting .350 with eight

homers during those games.

Cincinnati extended its start to 5-0, but has since dropped 11

of 17 while batting .239.

The Reds dropped two of three at St. Louis over the weekend,

culminating with a 3-0 loss Sunday night in which they managed four

hits.

Perhaps another series with the Brewers can get Cincinnati back

on track. The Reds have won 18 of the last 21 meetings in this

division rivalry, including seven of nine in Milwaukee.

Arroyo (2-2, 4.24 ERA) helped the Reds complete the sweep of the

Brewers on April 3, yielding three runs in seven innings of a 12-3

victory.

The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.02 ERA in his last five starts

at Miller Park, but hasn’t been sharp in losing his last two games

overall, giving up eight runs in 10 1-3 innings.

“There are times when they come easy and it seems like they’re

just going to keep coming,” Arroyo told the Reds’ official website.

“You know eventually that you’re going to go down the other side of

the mountain. Those are the times you have to come to the ballpark

and try to simplify things.”

Joey Votto is one Cincinnati player who is still hitting well.

The reigning NL MVP had a double and two walks Sunday, increasing

his batting average to .395 and his on-base percentage to .515.

Votto is batting .409 with six homers and 19 RBIs in his last 18

games versus the Brewers. He’s 4 for 7 with a home run off Chris

Narveson (1-0, 2.19), Milwaukee’s scheduled starter for Monday.

The Brewers, meanwhile, enter this series on an offensive

tear.

Milwaukee has batted .332, scored 42 runs and swatted nine

homers while winning four of its last six games, including a 4-1

victory over Houston on Sunday.

Ryan Braun has been a big part of the surge, batting .480 with

three homers and nine RBIs over the last six games. Braun, who

signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension Thursday, has

reached base safely in 21 consecutive games to start the season – a

club record.

He was 4 for 11 with a pair of solo homers in the last series

with the Reds.

Narveson (1-0, 2.19) could use Braun’s help. He’s received three

total runs of support in two starts versus Cincinnati, going 0-1

despite a 3.18 ERA in those outings.

The left-hander hasn’t received a decision in his last two

starts – both Milwaukee road defeats – while allowing six runs in

11 2-3 innings.

He was much better in his first two starts at home, tossing 13

scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts.