The Cincinnati Reds’ major-league worst pitching staff tends to bring out the best in opposing hitters, and that has particularly been the case for Eric Thames this season. The 30-year-old slugger looks to continue tormenting the Reds on Sunday when his Milwaukee Brewers host Cincinnati in the rubber match of their three-game set.
The Brewers have feasted on the Reds’ pitching staff, which has the highest ERA (5.24) and allowed the most home runs (194) in the majors, averaging 7.4 runs while winning eight of 12 against their National League Central rival. Even more than the rest of his teammates, Thames has shown no mercy on Cincinnati in 2017, setting a club record for most home runs in a season against one opponent (10) after delivering a solo shot in Saturday’s 6-5, 10-inning victory - breaking George Scott’s 42-year-old club mark. With the victory, Milwaukee (60-59) climbed back over .500, snapped a six-game losing streak and pulled within two games of co-division leaders St. Louis and the Chicago Cubs. The Reds, who have hit five homers in this series and given up six, watched their three-game winning streak snapped Saturday.
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Sal Romano (2-4, 5.35 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Matt Garza (5-6, 4.34)
Romano threw only 53 of his 91 pitches for strikes and absorbed his second loss in as many starts Tuesday, giving up five runs on nine hits and two walks across six innings. The 23-year-old New Yorker, who went 33-52 with a 4.32 ERA in his minor-league career prior, has issued 19 walks in 33 2/3 big-league frames. Romano, who will make his eighth career start Sunday, took the loss in his big-league debut against Milwaukee on April 16 after yielding three runs (two earned) over three frames.
Garza turned in his shortest and worst start of the season in a loss Tuesday at Minnesota, surrendering four home runs among the eight runs and eight hits he permitted across 3 1/3 innings. It was an uncharacteristic outing for the 2008 American League Championship Series MVP, who had given up only one homer and four runs over his previous four turns combined. Joey Votto is 12-for-34 with two homers against Garza, who did not factor into the decision versus the Reds in his season debut on April 24 after allowing four runs (one earned) in four frames.
1. The Brewers acquired 2B Neil Walker and cash considerations from the New York Mets on Saturday in exchange for a player to be named later.
2. The Reds rank second in the majors with 70 runs in August.
3. Milwaukee 3B Travis Shaw, who became the fourth third baseman in club history with 25 home runs in a season, was spotted in a walking boot after the game and is questionable for Sunday.
PREDICTION: Brewers 7, Reds 6