MILWAUKEE -- Christian Yelich will be back in the starting lineup for Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon when the Brewers wrap up their three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park.
Yelich was activated from the disabled list Tuesday night but did not appear in the Brewers' 2-0 victory. He had been sidelined since April 5 with a strained oblique, an injury that brought a fantastic start to a screeching halt.
He batted .500 in Milwaukee's season-opening sweep of San Diego and was batting .385 with a .984 OPS when the injury happened.
With Yelich out, the Brewers' offense struggled to score runs and the situation only got worse as the team lost Lorenzo Cain, Manny Pina, Eric Thames and Ryan Braun because of minor injuries over the last week.
Cain was back on the field last weekend at New York. Pina went on the disabled list Monday, but Thames and Braun returned to the lineup Tuesday night. With Yelich ready to return, manager Craig Counsell is hoping his offense starts to show the form Milwaukee's front office had in mind when it added Cain and Yelich during the offseason.
"We've had injuries but also we haven't swung the bats to our capability just yet," Counsell said. "I think better approaches will lead to more runs. If you're not feeling good, it's tough to look like you have a good approach, because you're missing your pitch to hit, or you're swinging at a ball in the dirt.
"Overall, we need to ramp up pressure on the other team. Eventually, you break through when you keep putting pressure on the other team."
Zach Davies (0-2, 6.75 ERA) will get the start for Milwaukee on Wednesday. In his most recent outing, Davies gave up five runs, seven hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings and took the loss, 6-5 against the New York Mets on Friday.
He has a 2-3 record with a 3.72 ERA in nine career starts against the Reds, and went 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA in four starts against Cincinnati last year.
Except for a two-run homer by Thames that proved the difference Tuesday night, Reds pitchers have done well holding Milwaukee's offense in check the last two games.
"It's getting better," manager Bryan Price said of his rotation. "It is. It seems like every year we start the year with a new group of pitchers. This particular group, if we give them the repetitions we need, they're going to evolve into a really nice starting rotation. We've talked about growing pains so many times the last few years with all the young pitchers ... there's nothing you can really do other than give these guys the opportunity for them to pitch for them to learn through game situations."
Right-hander Tyler Mahle (1-2, 5.63 ERA) gets the ball for the Reds on Wednesday looking to snap a two-game personal losing streak. He has given up a career-high five runs in each of those outings, striking out seven but walking only one over that 10-inning span.
"They hit some good pitches," Mahle said following his last outing, a 5-3 Cincinnati loss to the Cardinals. "I also made some bad pitches that they hit. It was a mixture of both."
Mahle has never faced the Brewers.
The Reds could go into the series finale without catcher Devin Mesoraco after he suffered a bruised wrist Tuesday night.
Brewers starter Junior Guerra hit Mesoraco with a pitch in the second inning but Mesoraco remained in the game until the sixth, when Tucker Barnhart took over behind the plate.
X-rays revealed no fracture, and Price said Mesoraco will be examined again Wednesday morning.
"We'll see how he is tomorrow, if there's some things he can do for us off the bench," Price said. "I think he'll be able to catch and do whatever he needs back there but we'll see how he can handle the bat."