The Cincinnati Reds have looked plenty dominant over the last month. That doesn't figure to change during a stretch of 18 straight games against teams with losing records.
The Reds look to continue their season-long success against the Brewers in the opener of a three-game series Monday night in Milwaukee.
Cincinnati (66-42) couldn't complete a sweep of Pittsburgh over the weekend, losing 6-2 on Sunday while mustering only three hits and committing two errors. Despite the defeat, the Reds have won 22 of 26.
"You get greedy," admitted manager Dusty Baker, whose club still leads the second-place Pirates by 4 1/2 games atop the NL Central. "When you start winning every day, two out of three isn't good enough. We went 5-2 on the homestand, but you always want more."
As the Reds open a seven-game road trip, it is uncertain when second baseman Brandon Phillips will return from a left calf strain that has kept him out of the past five contests.
"It's not very pleasant telling him he's not in the lineup because he loves to play," Baker told the Reds' official website.
With or without Phillips, Baker's club will try to put some more distance between itself and the rest of the division during a favorable stretch of schedule. The Reds are 7-2 against the Brewers this year, taking two of three at Miller Park in May.
Milwaukee (48-59) has dropped 12 of 16 overall, and lost 3-0 in St. Louis on Sunday as the Cardinals completed a three-game sweep. The Brewers totaled four runs and went 2 for 22 with runners in scoring position over the weekend.
"We had a lot of chances with (Sunday's starter Kyle) Lohse," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's really good, but we needed a big hit somewhere and we're just not getting that hit."
Ryan Braun went 0 for 7 in the last two games, striking out four times.
Ending the losing streak won't be easy for the Brewers against Bronson Arroyo (7-6, 3.87 ERA).
Cincinnati is 3-0 when Arroyo starts against Milwaukee this season. The right-hander has earned the victory in two of those games, including July 21 when he gave up two runs in six innings of a 6-2 win.
Arroyo, who is 13-8 with a 3.67 ERA lifetime versus the Brewers, is also looking to win his fourth straight start overall. He surrendered four runs in six innings of a 6-4 win over San Diego on Wednesday.
The Brewers will counter with Yovani Gallardo (9-8, 3.92), who is 1-2 with a 4.08 ERA against the Reds this year. He opposed Arroyo last month and allowed four runs in 5 2-3 innings to take the loss.
Gallardo, though, has allowed either one run or none in four of his last six starts overall. He gave up three hits, including a solo homer, in seven innings of a 10-1 victory over Houston last Tuesday.
Reds outfielder Jay Bruce is 12 for 26 with two homers against Gallardo, while Ryan Ludwick is 6 for 17 with three home runs.