The Cincinnati Reds play their 37th contest in 38 days when they conclude a three-game series Sunday at the Atlanta Braves, and aim for a sweep as they continue to rebound from a miserable ending to July. The Reds won 11-8 Saturday and improved to 11-8 in August after losing 14 of their final 17 games last month, getting three hits each from Tucker Barnhart and Scott Schebler, along with a grand slam and five RBIs from Scooter Gennett.
Cincinnati’s offense continues to produce, scoring 35 runs in the past four games and five or more in 10 of its past 13 contests. Atlanta lost for the 11th time in 17 games this month, and are struggling offensively in their new home - SunTrust Park. The Braves are averaging 3.2 runs per game in their past five home games, leaving 36 runners on base in those contests and hitting just 6-for-33 with runners in scoring position. Third baseman Brandon Phillips hit his 11th homer while going 3-for-6 Saturday, extending his hitting streak to five games and moving within 14 hits of 2,000 for his career.
TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), FSN South (Atlanta)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Luis Castillo (2-5, 3.39 ERA) vs. Braves LH Sean Newcomb (1-7, 4.45)
Castillo has impressed in his first 11 major-league starts, allowing more than two earned runs just twice and posting a 2.39 ERA across his past four outings. He held the Chicago Cubs to two hits across six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts Tuesday in a no-decision. Castillo, the Marlins 2016 minor-league pitcher of the year who was acquired in the Dan Straily trade in January, has received a total of five runs of support from Cincinnati’s offense in his past three losses.
Newcomb has settled down after posting a 7.61 ERA in July, starting August with a 4.32 ERA through three starts. He got a no-decision Tuesday at Colorado but pitched well despite four walks in six innings, giving up three runs - all on solo homers - with eight strikeouts. Newcomb, who is making his 13th major-league start, seeks his first victory at SunTrust Park, where he is 0-6 with a 5.02 ERA in seven starts.
1. Braves SS Dansby Swanson has at least one base hit in seven of his past eight games, hitting .346 in that span.
2. Cincinnati SS Zack Cozart did not play Saturday after being hit in the left shin with a pitch Friday, and his status for the series finale is uncertain.
3. Reds 1B Joey Votto extended his on-base streak to 24 games Saturday with an RBI double in the seventh inning.
PREDICTION: Reds 4, Braves 2