There was no understating the importance when the Cincinnati Reds won three of four games against the Milwaukee Brewers ahead of the All-Star break.
The Reds picked up two games in the standings and carried momentum into this weekend's series at Great American Ball Park. The Reds will play three more games against the Brewers, the first time they've played seven consecutive games against one team since, coincidentally, the Milwaukee Braves from June 30-July 4, 1953.
The starting rotation for the weekend series was announced Thursday afternoon. Tyler Mahle will pitch Friday's series opener, followed by Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray. Mahle allowed four hits and three runs across six innings when he faced the Brewers last weekend.
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Castillo pitched Sunday, surrendering three hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings. He matched a career-high with six walks and he struck out six.
Gray did not face the Brewers last weekend, pitching in the Reds' series finale in Kansas City. He's currently on the 10-day injured list with a right rib cage strain, so he will need to be activated before Sunday's start.
The Brewers have yet to announce their rotation schedule. They had three starting pitchers at the All-Star Game in Colorado: Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta. The Reds haven't faced Burnes this season.
Reds pitcher Art Warren injured
The Reds placed reliever Art Warren on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Monday, with a left oblique strain.
Warren left Sunday's game with the injury after misfiring on a pitch to Christian Yelich.
It's tough timing for Warren's injury because he became such a big part of the team's bullpen. Since a promotion on June 10, he had yielded three runs and nine hits in 12 1/3 innings, striking out 19. He had stranded all five of his inherited runners, too.
The Reds did not announce a corresponding roster move. Reliever Michael Lorenzen is expected to be activated before Friday's series opener against the Brewers, but the Reds will need to make a move on their 40-man roster because Lorenzen was on the 60-day injured list.
Reliever Michael Feliz was returned from his rehab assignment Monday, but there was no update on where he will pitch next. Feliz is out of minor-league options, so if he's not added to the Reds' bullpen, he will be subject to waivers.