The last time Chase Anderson pitched at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, he walked off the mound in the second inning dealing with the disappointment of getting hurt.
Anderson's exit occurred a little over two months ago, and it was a frustrating game all around for the Milwaukee Brewers. They witnessed the right-hander injure his oblique, and they saw first baseman Travis Shaw commit a costly error, allowing the Cincinnati Reds to score the go-ahead run in a one-run game.
Anderson (8-3, 2.96 ERA) has made three starts since coming off the disabled list, and he will be on the mound Monday afternoon when Milwaukee opens a three-game series at Cincinnati.
Since returning, Anderson is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA. He last pitched in Wednesday in a 6-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing three runs and two hits in six innings.
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His final line was not the only notable things from his last start. Anderson pitched his entire outing with a split fingernail on his middle finger, and his eighth win of the season was preserved by center fielder Keon Broxton robbing Randal Grichuk of a two-run homer to end the game.
"I don't know where it came from, but it started bleeding and I was wiping it off between every pitch," Anderson said. "I got it super-glued. That helped a lot because I wouldn't have been able to throw a curveball or cutter."
Anderson is 13-4 with a 2.82 ERA in his last 31 starts dating to July 25, 2016. He also is 2-1 with a 2.27 ERA in six career starts versus Cincinnati, which Milwaukee is 9-4 against this season.
Milwaukee owned a 41-39 record and a one-game lead in the NL Central on the night Anderson was hurt. Without him, the Brewers were 23-21, and when he returned Aug. 20, they were two games behind the Chicago Cubs and 3 1/2 behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second National League wild card.
Now they are 3 1/2 games behind first-place Chicago in the Central and a half-game behind the Colorado Rockies for the second wild card. Milwaukee ends the week with a pivotal three-game series at Wrigley Field against the Cubs.
Since Anderson returned, the Brewers are 9-5. During those games, their starting pitchers own a 2.20 ERA, limiting the opposition to a .203 batting average (57-for-281).
"We're pitching well," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "We've pitched well for a while, guys are doing a nice job in different roles. It's great. We're pitching very well."
The Brewers just took three of four from the Washington Nationals, with Domingo Santana homering twice Sunday in a 7-2 win. Santana has launched 14 of his 24 homers in afternoon games, and the Brewers play four day games during this trip.
"Day games seem to a pretty nice formula for him," Counsell said.
The Reds will play 18 of their final 25 games against teams vying for playoff spots. Cincinnati is 3-5 in its past eight games, stranding 10 baserunners and going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Sunday during a 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh.
Joey Votto went 2-for-4 Sunday and has gone 31 consecutive plate appearances without a strikeout.
On Monday, Homer Bailey will make his 14th start of the year for the Reds and second since leaving his Aug. 22 start against the Cubs with an irritated shoulder. Bailey took a tough 2-0 loss Wednesday against the New York Mets when he allowed both runs in the opening inning of a six-inning appearance.
"Sometimes you have to pitch with what you've got," Bailey said. "I'm still kind of feeling things out. After coming out of the last game, you don't want to go red line."
Bailey is 4-7 with a 7.41 ERA since returning from right elbow surgery on June 24. He has allowed at least five earned runs in six starts.
One of those instances occurred when he opposed Anderson in June and allowed six runs and six hits in three innings of an 11-3 loss. He is 11-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 24 starts against the Brewers and has struggled in matchups with Ryan Braun (14-for-41, .341, three homers, 10 RBI).