Skidding Reds play host to Diamondbacks

( - It's only July 28, but it's getting late for the Cincinnati Reds.

Among the hottest teams in the majors heading into the All-Star break, the suddenly sagging Reds will again try to snap a post-break skid when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks to open a three-game series on Monday night at Great American Ball Park.

Cincinnati lost its first seven games after the All-Star Game, bounced back with a Johnny Cueto-pitched victory on Saturday, then lost its eighth in nine on Sunday.

The Reds have fallen six games off the pace of the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League's Central Division after closing to within 1 1/2 games earlier this month. They've hit just .178 as a team and scored 1.8 runs per game in the slide and have managed only five hits in 52 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Cincinnati is back at .500 after Sunday's loss and could fall below the break- even line for the first time since June 21.

"What it comes down to is we didn't score many runs," manager Bryan Price said. "We have to get better at that. Guys are trying but aren't getting anything out of their effort. You can't wait until the ninth inning."

Starting for the Reds on Monday is right-hander Homer Bailey, who allowed three solo home runs on Tuesday while getting a no-decision in the team's 4-3 loss to Milwaukee.

"This park, the ball flies a little bit once it gets up in the air," Bailey said.

He's 5-1 with a 2.79 earned run average in his last seven starts in Cincinnati, though the Diamondbacks are the only National League team he's not beaten. He has a 4.50 ERA against Arizona in his last two starts, though the most recent was four years ago.

The Diamondbacks have dropped four of six games and hand the ball to rookie Chase Anderson coming off a 5-4 defeat of Detroit on Tuesday in which he allowed two runs in six innings in his lone outing since the break.

"I wouldn't say I was a little rusty, but I'm a routine-oriented person," he said. "Starting pitchers are used to pitching every five days, so I would say I was a little off."

This season, rookies have posted a 2-3 record and a 3.50 ERA against the Reds.

Cincinnati has won 11 of the last 15 games in the series, including three of four in Arizona in late May/early June.