But Reds manager Dusty Baker is smart enough to not overlook the beat-up Brewers as he searches for his 1,500th win as a manager on Tuesday in the middle game at Miller Park. Baker's career mark currently sits at 1,499-1,380, following Monday's 6-1 win in the opener of a three-game set.
Milwaukee received news on Monday that shortstop Alex Gonzalez will likely miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, joining Mat Gamel as the second Brewer to sustain that same injury this week. The club is also without lefty starter Chris Narveson, out for the season after shoulder surgery, and center fielder Carlos Gomez, who is on the DL with a hamstring injury.
"You still can't sell them short," Baker said. "It depends on how you pitch. If you pitch, it makes it tough on us. They can beat you to death too, offensively. It's a different club. We have to play them tough. They've got some guys over there hungry for jobs."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke isn't blaming injuries for a 12-17 start. Entering Monday night, the Brewers ranked 28th in the Majors with a .228 batting average and 27th with a 4.88 ERA.
"We're not pitching and we're not hitting," Roenicke said. "Regardless of who we have out there, if we don't do those things better, we're not going to have a good year."
On Tuesday, the Brewers expect to get that much-needed pitching from Yovani Gallardo. Most importantly for Gallardo, the start comes against a team other than the Cardinals.
Gallardo, Milwaukee's Opening Day starter, is 0-2 with a 22.24 ERA in 5 2/3 innings versus the Cards, but he's 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 27 innings against other opponents this season.
Pitching has been something of a strong point for the Reds this season -- especially the bullpen, which leads the NL in ERA and opponents' batting average.
"We've been throwing the ball very well," Baker said. "Our bullpen has been good. Our starters have been going deep in games and it keeps our bullpen strong."
Right-hander Homer Bailey gets the ball for the Reds on Tuesday, coming off a quality start in a no-decision against the Cubs. Bailey is 1-2 with a 3.77 ERA.
Reds: Cairo activated, Harris outrighted
Infielder Miguel Cairo returned from a strained left hamstring on Monday, and with his activation from the DL, the Reds outrighted Willie Harris to Triple-A Louisville.
Harris, who can refuse the assignment, was just 3-for-35 this season. He was signed to a Minor League deal in January and initially made the team out of Spring Training.
Scott Rolen's next double will tie him with Babe Ruth for 48th on the all-time list at 506.
The Reds are 4-0-1 in their last five series and they have a chance to improve on that mark with a victory on Tuesday.
Brewers: Roenicke going with rotation notion
Roenicke plans to use a platoon situation to replace Gamel and Gomez. Travis Ishikawa, Taylor Green and Brooks Conrad will all see time at first base.
Nyjer Morgan and Norichika Aoki will split time in center field.
The Brewers have won 53 straight games when leading after seven innings. Milwaukee has not lost a game it led entering the eighth since last July 4 against Arizona.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is hitting .367 in his last 10 games.
Against Gallardo, Reds lefties Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are hitting a combined .395 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 38 total at-bats.
The Brewers haven't won a season series against the Reds since 2006, when they took 10 of 19. Even last season, when Milwaukee set a franchise record for wins, it only managed an 8-8 split against Cincinnati.