The Cincinnati Reds had the majors’ best home record earlier this month.
They’ve hardly been playing their best at Great American Ball Park since then.
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The Reds open a seven-game homestand Friday night against the improving Milwaukee Brewers, who could be without Ryan Braun again.
After being denied a four-game sweep over the Chicago Cubs with Thursday’s 6-5, 14-inning defeat, Cincinnati (40-27) will face the Brewers (27-38) for the second time this season after sweeping them at Great American Ball Park from May 10-12.
The Reds were a MLB-best 21-7 at home three weeks later, but they’ve been outscored 39-18 while losing four of five to visiting teams.
Friday’s starter Bronson Arroyo (6-5, 3.35 ERA) is 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA in eight home starts after throwing six innings of two-run ball in Sunday’s 11-4, 10-inning loss to St. Louis. The right-hander was hit on the knee by a one-hopper in the fourth, but the injury doesn’t seem like it will impact him moving forward.
“It’s not serious,” Arroyo told the Reds’ official website. “It just got me in a good spot.”
Arroyo wasn’t in a good spot prior to his May 12 start against Milwaukee, bringing in a 2-4 record and 4.30 ERA in seven outings. However, he threw 6 2-3 scoreless innings in that 5-1 victory and is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his past six starts.
Arroyo might not have to face Braun, who has missed the past three games with a right thumb injury and could go on the disabled list this weekend if it doesn’t improve.
Even without the former MVP, the Brewers’ lineup is delivering. Milwaukee is hitting .307 and averaging 6.3 runs during a 5-1 stretch, reaching double-digit runs for the first time in 40 games in Wednesday’s 10-1 win at Miami.
“Give those guys some credit, they’re swinging the bats good and that’s a potent lineup right now that’s got a lot of guys swinging the bat really well,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
Carlos Gomez has been swinging it as well as anyone, going 10 for 25 with a homer, four triples and eight RBIs over the last six games.
Milwaukee’s rotation has also been solid over that span with a 2.11 ERA.
“The starting pitching has been awesome,” Gomez said. “You’re more pumped up when you see the starting pitching be more consistent.”
A more consistent Kyle Lohse (2-6, 4.03) could really help. He picked up his first win in eight starts Sunday, allowing one run and four hits in a season-high eight innings to beat Philadelphia 9-1.
“I’m finally coming back around where I can snap (the slider) off,” said Lohse, who’s made three starts since his turn was skipped to rest a sore arm.
The right-hander will get his first look at the Reds in a Brewers uniform. He’s 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in his last seven starts against Cincinnati.
Jay Bruce, 8 for 24 with a homer, triple and three doubles off Lohse, is batting .407 (11 for 27) in the last six games after Thursday’s four-hit effort. His four RBIs in last month’s series against Milwaukee led Cincinnati.
Joey Votto went 3 for 12 in that series, and the former MVP is batting .268 at home compared to .370 outside Cincinnati.