|Date of game: 7/31/2014
Cincinnati Reds (53-54) at Miami Marlins (53-54), 7:10 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - If you're looking to start another win streak these days, the Cincinnati Reds make the perfect guests.
The free-falling Reds will head to Miami's Marlins Park on Thursday night to begin a four-game series with a home team that had won six in a row and nine of 10 before a Wednesday loss.
The six-game skein was the longest in more than two years for Miami, which could have moved it above .500 for the first time in more than a month. Thursday's game also coincides with the non-waiver trade deadline, which could bring retooling for a South Florida stretch run.
"Ten days ago people may have thought we were sellers, and they were coming at us one way. Now it's completely 180," president of baseball operations Mike Hill said. "We're going to do our best to try to upgrade, but we're not going to be foolish. We're not going to be shortsighted."
Cincinnati, meanwhile, has lost 10 of 12 since the All-Star break and had scored three or fewer runs in 11 straight games before scoring four in a Wednesday loss.
The Reds have hit .189 as a team since the break, with starters Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips gone due to injury. Jay Bruce is also absent until at least Friday after being placed on the bereavement list. He was hitting .215 for the season and in a 3-for-36 funk when shelved.
"A lot of guys are struggling right now," pitcher Alfredo Simon said.
Getting the start for the Reds is staff ace Johnny Cueto, who threw seven scoreless innings and struck out nine batters in a 1-0 defeat of Washington on Saturday. He's won three straight decisions and remains among league-leaders in wins, strikeouts and earned run average.
"He has confidence in himself and believes in what he does. He always gives us a chance to be in the game," catcher Brayan Pena said.
In five meetings with the Marlins, Cueto is 2-1 with a 5.27 ERA. The last meeting came in September 2012 and ended in a 6-4 Reds loss in Miami.
Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler starts for the first time against Cincinnati and for the first time on home turf since July 3.
He's 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA in his last three starts, and 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in his last two in Miami. He surrendered three runs in five innings on Saturday to beat Houston, 7-3.
The Reds have won four straight games in Miami.
On Wednesday in Cincinnati, Paul Goldschmidt and Didi Gregorius hit two-run homers, boosting the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-4 win over the Reds.
Cincinnati's Simon (12-6) was charged with two runs on six hits over seven innings of work, as he fell to 0-3 since the All-Star break with the loss.
In Miami, Ian Desmond's two-run double in the eighth inning was the difference, as Washington claimed a 4-3 victory and put an end to the Marlins' six-game win streak in the finale of a three-game series.
Drew Storen eventually claimed his first save of the season, but not before allowing a solo homer to Giancarlo Stanton and an RBI double from Adeiny Hechavarria. Jordany Valdespin hit a solo homer for the Marlins.
Brad Hand (2-3) was charged with five hits and three runs over seven-plus frames in defeat.
Cincinnati won six of its seven meetings with the Marlins last season.