The Milwaukee Brewers are on the brink of being swept in what might be the most important series in determining the course of their season. To avoid the broom, they’ll have to beat one of the top pitchers in the majors this season. Ace right-hander Johnny Cueto will try to pitch the host Cincinnati Reds to a win that would preserve their slim half-game over Pittsburgh in the National League Central.
The Brewers are a season-high 9 1/2 games out of first after losing the first two contests of the series and are in danger of dropping even more if they can’t solve Cueto, who threw seven scoreless innings against them May 9 in Milwaukee. The Reds have won 10 of 12 and are trying for their second three-game sweep on their current homestand.
Brewers Reds Betting
When: 1:10 PM ET, Sunday, July 22, 2012
Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Ohio
PITCHING MATCHUP: Brewers RH Mike Fiers (3-3, 2.01 ERA) vs. Reds RH Johnny Cueto (11-5, 2.28)
Fiers has turned in five straight quality starts after throwing seven scoreless innings Monday against St. Louis. He has allowed two or fewer runs in six of his eight starts and has not allowed a run in three of his last four. Fiers is 2-0 with a 0.81 ERA in 22 1/3 innings on the road in his career. He has never faced the Reds.
Cueto backed up the feelings that he was an All-Star snub by picking up where he left off before the break. He tossed six scoreless innings despite a blister on his index finger Tuesday against Arizona. He has not allowed more than three runs in any of his last nine starts and has done so only twice in 19 outings this season. Cueto is 2-2 with a 3.75 ERA in 10 starts against the Brewers.
1. The Reds have hit five home runs in the first two games of the series, giving them 105 on the season, which is third in the National League – one behind the Brewers.
2. There has been at least one home run in 74 consecutive games at Great American Ball Park, the longest stretch since an 80-game streak at Coors Field in 2002-03.
3. The Brewers have scored two runs or less in five of Fier’s eight starts, including three of the last four.