The Milwaukee Brewers will look to continue their offensive surge Saturday when they visit the Cincinnati Reds for the second game of a three-game weekend series between the top two teams in the National League Central.
The Brewers opened the series Friday with an 11-6 win. Their 11 runs were two more than they scored in losing three of four last week to Cincinnati.
Luis Urias, Willy Adames and Avisail Garcia all homered in support of starter Adrian Houser, who couldn’t last long enough to earn the win. While the Brewers have had trouble scoring against the Reds, they have had no difficulty scoring during Houser’s outings, putting up 33 runs in the right-hander’s past four starts.
“They’ve done a great job of picking us up,” Houser said.
The offensive uprising coincided with the return of Kolten Wong, who had been on the 10-day injured list with a sore left calf. Wong was activated before Friday’s game and had three hits and scored twice in a return to his customary leadoff spot.
“It’s a huge difference,” Urias told Brewers TV after the game. “Obviously, he’s been on base all the time and that really helps the team. He’s really fast. He’s going to be a huge part of our (offense) for the next few games, and we’re really happy to have him back.”
The Reds apparently escaped serious injury to one of their stars. Nick Castellanos, the National League leader in batting (.331) entering the series opener, was drilled on the right forearm in the wrist area by a fastball from Houser in the third inning. He stayed in the game and scored later in the frame.
Castellanos was removed for Aristides Aquino to start the fourth inning and had X-rays.
“It is not broken,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He’s pretty sore. It’s a little early to tell about when (he returns). Great news that it’s not broken. We got that news during the game. Just a matter of when we get him back.”
Aquino made an impact in the ninth inning Friday when he hit a long opposite field home run to the seats in right, his fifth of the season.
The Brewers send right-hander Brandon Woodruff (7-4, 2.06 ERA) to the mound on Saturday.
Woodruff will be making his 19th start of the season and second against the Reds. Woodruff’s most recent start came last Sunday in against the Reds, when he received a no decision in the Brewers’ 3-1 loss. He allowed just one run, scattering nine hits over six innings, striking out four while walking none.
Woodruff has 14 quality starts and opponents are batting .171 (68-for-398, nine homers) against him. Woodruff is 3-3 with a 3.70 ERA in nine career games (seven starts) against the Reds.
The Reds counter will with Luis Castillo (3-10, 4.65), their hottest pitcher over the past six weeks. He is pitching for the second time in six days against Milwaukee, earning a no decision in a 3-1 win last Sunday, allowing three hits and one run. He struck out six but also walked a career-high six.
After starting the season 1-8 with a 7.22 ERA in 11 starts through May, Castillo is 2-2 with a 1.97 ERA in his past eight starts.
The right-hander is making his fifth start this season against Milwaukee, posting an 0-2 mark with a 3.52 ERA. Lifetime, Castillo is 4-7 with a 3.48 ERA in 15 starts vs. the Brewers.
The Reds have won eight of the 14 meetings with the Brewers this season, but Milwaukee has won five of seven in Cincinnati.
–Field Level Media