A 7-2 tour through Denver, Chicago and St. Louis has pushed the Braves to 22-13 as they battle the Nationals for first in the National League East. Atlanta surrounded a quiet series against the Cubs by scoring 29 runs in three games against the Rockies and 23 in three games against the Cardinals.
Reds right-hander Homer Bailey will have to find a way to contain an offense whose 189 runs scored rank second in the Major Leagues behind the Rangers. To do so, he must recover quickly after giving up six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Brewers on Tuesday, his most runs allowed in a game since last July 28.
Bailey left that game trailing, 3-0, but was charged with three additional runs after reliever J.J. Hoover entered. Still, he gave up six hits and three walks.
"If a certain pitch wasn't very good, I'll make sure I'll work on it a little bit extra to kind of get the feel back," Bailey said of making adjustments. "Other than that, don't try to go out there and try to reinvent the wheel."
The Braves will start righty Randall Delgado against a Reds attack that had plated nine runs in its past four games before Sunday's 9-6 win. The day before, Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann struck out nine while holding the Reds to one run on five hits in seven innings.
"You've got to get ready every day," said Dusty Baker, who played 19 seasons. "I was always taught that that dude over there [the opposing pitcher] has had three or four days to rest and just figured out how to get me out. I had less than 24 hours sometimes to go from one bad dude to another bad dude. That's a welcome to the big leagues. I'm not giving [Zimmermann] too much credit."
Reds: Options at the hot corner
Veteran third baseman Scott Rolen, batting .174 with two home runs this season, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday with a strained left shoulder. The 37-year-old has dealt with surgery on the same shoulder multiple times before, including last season.
"I'm not helping anybody right now," Rolen said. "I'm not helping the ballclub right now. I'm probably hurting the ballclub right now, with the way I've been swinging the bat and have been playing."
Cincinnati filled Rolen's 25-man roster spot by purchasing the contract of third baseman Mike Costanzo from Triple-A Louisville. A second-round Draft pick of the Phillies in 2005, the 28-year-old had a .943 OPS with Louisville and Double-A Pensacola this season and hit a sacrifice fly in his first big league at-bat on Sunday.
Todd Frazier got his second straight start at third on Sunday. He has been in the lineup there six times this season, while Baker also has used Miguel Cairo (three starts), Wilson Valdez (one) and Willie Harris (one).
Reliever Aroldis Chapman has retired 17 of his last 18 hitters, including 11 by strikeout, with the only hit an infield single. His 17.2 innings are the most by any Major League reliever who hasn't allowed a run.
Braves: Delgado starting to click
As a 21-year-old making his Major League debut last season, Delgado threw 35 innings. He figures to pass that mark on Monday, as he enters the game with 33 2/3 innings in 2012.
While the righty's ERA stands at 4.54, compared with 2.83 in 2011, he has bounced back from a rough April. In his last two starts, Delgado has held the opposition to three earned runs in 13 2/3 innings, with 10 strikeouts and three walks.
"His learning curve is a short one," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said after Delgado limited the Cubs to one run on Tuesday. "You ask him to do stuff and fix it up and learn. It's nice to see him pitch every fifth day."
With Chipper Jones and Brian McCann out of Sunday's lineup, David Ross made his eighth start behind the plate, and Juan Francisco made his 11th at third base.
The Reds are making their only trip to Atlanta this season. The teams' four-game set in Cincinnati next week will be their final regular-season meeting of the year.
This four-game homestand will be the Braves' only series at Turner Field during a 20-game stretch through May 24.