MLB

Preview: Brewers at Reds

Reds starter Alfredo Simon (left) and Brewers starter Chase Anderson have both been struggling so far this season.

Reds starter Alfredo Simon (left) and Brewers starter Chase Anderson have both been struggling so far this season.

Both bullpens better have all hands on deck Thursday night when the Cincinnati Reds host the Milwaukee Brewers.

That's because starters Alfredo Simon of the Reds and Milwaukee's Chase Anderson have simply been woeful as they meet in the opener of this four-game series.

The Reds (11-17) have lost all five games started by Simon (0-3, 13.50 ERA) while the Brewers (11-16) have dropped the last three outings by Anderson (1-3, 5.55). Simon has yet to last past the fifth inning and Anderson has done so once in his five starts.

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That's not good news for the Reds, whose bullpen has allowed a run in a major league record 22 games in a row.

Cincinnati was hopeful of better efforts in the future from Simon after he allowed three runs in four-plus innings in Saturday's 5-1 defeat at Pittsburgh. Manager Bryan Price left him in in the fifth, trying to give the right-hander some confidence.

"We know he's the one veteran on a young staff," Price said. "He's got to be the workhorse, eat up some innings."

Simon is 1-0 with a 3.14 ERA in two starts against the Brewers and 3-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 11 career matchups. Jonathan Lucroy is 6 for 10 with two homers when facing him.

Anderson has posted a 10.13 ERA in losing his last three starts after he did not allow an earned run over 11 innings in his first two. He yielded six runs over 4 1/3 innings in Saturday's 7-5 defeat to Miami, walking four for the second straight outing.

"Chase is a guy who relies on his fastball, it has to be located, it has to be commanded," manager Craig Counsell said.

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 0.44 ERA in three starts versus the Reds. Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Eugenio Suarez have combined to go 2 for 16 against him.

The Reds homered four times to avoid a fourth straight home defeat with Wednesday's 7-4 victory over San Francisco. Phillips, Suarez, Adam Duvall and Zack Cozart all went deep, with Cozart coming through after missing two days because of tendinitis in his surgically repaired right knee.

"I'll probably have it off and on," Cozart said. "I just have to take a day here or there when I need it, but be ready to play every day."

Milwaukee starts a seven-game trip after splitting six on a homestand capped by Wednesday's 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Ryan Braun is 8 for 13 with four RBI in his last three games.

Both teams have injured outfielders.

Milwaukee's Domingo Santana did not start Wednesday because of right shoulder tightness. It was the second time in three games that Santana was a late scratch because of the injury.

Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton also did not start Wednesday since he left the night before after aggravating his jammed left thumb, an injury preventing him from grabbing a bat.

Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart is expected back in the lineup after he had Wednesday off.

Milwaukee took 10 of 19 meetings a season ago, going 6-3 on the road.