Manager Bryan Price is trying to learn all he can about the Cincinnati Reds' stockpile of young arms. He certainly likes the stuff and makeup of Anthony DeSclafani.
The right-hander will try to keep making a strong impression Sunday when the visiting Reds look to send the Milwaukee Brewers to their longest losing streak in more than a year.
With an eye on the future, Cincinnati (63-84) has given its rookies a franchise-record 95 starts. Rookies have also made a major league-record 48 consecutive starts for the club.
DeSclafani (9-10, 3.67 ERA) has been a bright spot in the group, limiting opponents to three runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts. Now he's looking to match a career high by winning his third straight outing.
The 25-year-old, who made five starts for Miami last season, allowed hits to the first three batters before setting down 15 in a row in a 5-1 win over St. Louis on Sept. 12. He gave up one run with a career-high 10 strikeouts over six innings to beat MLB's best club for the third time.
"I know we talk a lot about how good his stuff is, but if he doesn't have the demeanor that he has, he doesn't persevere through that first inning, most likely," Price told MLB's official website. "I'm really happy about the development as a pitcher, but he came up with the makeup intact, he didn't have to be taught how to be a tough kid."
DeSclafani, who is relying on an effective breaking ball, has posted a 2.08 ERA while fanning 29 over 26 innings in his last four starts. He was dominant in his only career start at Miller Park, yielding two hits over eight scoreless innings in a 6-1 victory April 20.
Milwaukee (62-86) has been outscored 51-29 during an eight-game skid that has dropped it 1 1/2 games behind Cincinnati into last place. The club last lost nine in a row Aug. 26-Sept. 4, 2014.
Domingo Santana went 3 for 4 with his sixth home run and five RBIs for the Brewers on Saturday. The right fielder has gone 9 for 16 with eight RBIs in his last four games against the Reds.
Milwaukee likely won't have Elian Herrera after he collided with teammate Shane Peterson while trying to catch a fly ball. He was placed on a backboard and stretcher and left in an ambulance.
''It didn't look good,'' manager Craig Counsell said. ''To get a negative X-ray, I know his spirits are lifted. It's a right thigh contusion, but it's pretty significant. He got hit pretty good.''
The Brewers want to see what they have in Ariel Pena (1-0, 3.46), who was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in the Zack Greinke trade in July 2012. The right-hander earned the win in his big-league debut Sept. 5 when he allowed two runs over three innings of relief at Cincinnati.
He's made it through five innings in each of his first two starts, yielding a total of three runs.
Pena will have to be careful with Todd Frazier and Joey Votto, who hit their 35th and 28th home runs, respectively, on Saturday. Frazier became the second Reds player with at least 40 doubles and 35 home runs in a season, joining Frank Robinson (1962).
The Reds haven't swept a series at Milwaukee since August 2009.