The Cincinnati Reds will turn to right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez as they look to halt their historic early season slide when they visit the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night.
Milwaukee won the opener of the three-game series 6-3 on Tuesday behind Willy Adames’ three-run homer and a solid start by Brandon Woodruff, who allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings, matching his career high with 12 strikeouts.
The Reds, off to their worst start in franchise history at 3-20, have lost 18 of their past 19 games and seven in a row. Cincinnati also has lost 11 straight road games for the first time since 1945.
Gutierrez (0-4, 7.41 ERA), making his fifth start, will be opposed by right-hander Freddy Peralta (0-1, 5.00).
Gutierrez, 9-6 last season with a 4.74 ERA, allowed a career-high six walks in his most recent outing, giving up six runs on five hits in four innings in an 8-5 loss to San Diego on April 27. He has walked 15 in 17 innings.
“He continues to throw the ball well, but when you’re walking guys and giving the extra base runners — it’s a good team, it’s a good lineup — and that’s going to be tough to overcome,” Reds manager David Bell said after Gutierrez’s last start.
Gutierrez has made three career starts against Milwaukee, all last season, going 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA.
The Reds are without veteran first baseman Joey Votto, who was placed on the COVID-19 injured list Tuesday. He had not tested positive for the virus but has experienced symptoms, the team said.
Votto had appeared in the team’s first 22 games but was hitting just .122 with no homers.
After allowing nine runs in seven innings over his first two starts, Peralta has allowed just one run on six hits in 11 innings in his past two outings.
In his most recent start last Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Peralta allowed three hits in six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. He left with a 1-0 lead but did not get a decision in a 3-2 win over the Pirates.
Peralta is 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA in 14 career games, including eight starts, against the Reds. He was 0-1 with a 3.48 ERA in four starts against Cincinnati last season.
Milwaukee, 15-5 over its past 20 games, was bolstered by the return Tuesday night of third baseman Luis Urias, who opened the season on the injured list. In his first game back, Urias reached three times — on an error, a single and a walk. He also drove in one run and turned in a sterling defensive play.
Woodruff’s performance gave the Brewers three consecutive games with 10 or more strikeouts by starting pitchers for the first time in franchise history, following Eric Lauer (11) and Corbin Burnes (10).
“We’re throwing the ball well,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “The guys at the front are throwing the ball well, our back-end guys are throwing the ball well. It’s a good formula. It feels like whoever is up the next day is as good as the guy the day before him.”
Closer Josh Hader, who has converted all 10 save opportunities, has been unavailable since Saturday with mid-back spasms, Counsell said.
“He threw a bullpen today and everything went well,” Counsell said. “But he was not available tonight. He should be available (Wednesday) or Thursday.”
–Field Level Media