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Reds swept again as skid continues at six

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The Cincinnati Reds are still the only team in the second half to not record a victory as they were swept in back-to-back series when the Brewers homered their way to a 5-1 victory on Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee.

The Reds (51-50) are 0-6 to start the second half and most of their lack of success can be attributed to the lack of runs scored. In those six games the Reds are averaging just two runs per game and have been outscored 28-12. Three of the losses were one run games including walk-off wins for the Yankees on Sunday and the Brewers (57-45) on Tuesday. The skid has also allowed the Pirates (54-47) and Cardinals (54-47) to give themselves a three game cushion for second place while Milwaukee holds a 5.5 game lead in the NL Central.

Defensively the Reds have also been unsound, averaging almost and error per game after entering the second half as one of the top fielding teams in baseball. Over the Milwaukee series, the pitching was anything stellar as they allowed six home runs in the final two games of the series. In fact the Brewers scored all four of their runs Tuesday on solo home runs including a game-winner by Jonathan Lucroy, who homered for the second time in that game. Mark Reynolds homered twice Wednesday with the second one snapping Jumbo Diaz's steak of not being scored on in the month of July.

During the three game set, Cincinnati went an alarming 1-18 (.056) with runners in scoring position. That actually better than the previous series in which the Reds went 1-22 (.046) against New York. The prospects of those numbers changing doesn't look especially bright as the Reds return home this weekend to face the best team pitching ERA (3.09) in the Washington Nationals (55-44).

The Nats will have to go through the Reds top three in the rotation, while Cincinnati will miss Jordan Zimmerman (6-5, 3.20 ERA) and Stephen Strasburg(7-8, 3.67 ERA) and instead see Tanner Roark (9-6, 2.91 ERA), Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 3.74 ERA), and Doug Fister (9-2, 2.92 ERA). Alfredo Simon (12-4, 2.74 ERA) takes the ball in the series opener on Friday against Roark, while Johnny Cueto (10-6, 2.18 ERA) faces Gonzalez, and Mat Latos (2-2, 3.15 ERA) will square off against Fister in the finale on Sunday.