The Reds' second-half struggles resumed Sunday and they fell back to .500. As they continue to sink farther out of the National League Central picture, they do have one point -- at least on paper -- in their favor: Their next 20 games come against opponents who currently sit below .500.
This string of games will begin when the Reds hosts the D-backs for a three-game set starting Monday night at Great American Ball Park. It's quite a change for the Reds, who played their last two series against division leaders in the Brewers and Nationals.
The Reds lost their first seven games after the All-Star break and their offense was quiet again Sunday in a loss to the Nationals. In the second half, they've averaged 1.78 runs per game and have not plated more than three runs in a contest since scoring six against the Pirates on the final day of the first half.
A game-and-a-half out of first place in the tight NL Central two weeks ago, the Reds are now six games back of first-place Milwaukee and in fourth place -- making the upcoming stretch all the more important.
"We've still got two months left," said Reds third baseman Todd Frazier. "It's this stretch here where we win at all costs. It doesn't matter how you win; that's what you're here to do is win."
Homer Bailey will start for Cincinnati, and the right-hander is coming off a no-decision in his lone start since the All-Star break when he allowed three runs on four hits in six innings against the Brewers. Bailey has a 4.50 ERA in two career starts against the D-Backs, the only National League team in which Bailey has never registered a win.
Rookie right-hander Chase Anderson gets the ball for Arizona and is looking to build on back-to-back quality starts. Anderson went six innings in both of his last two starts, allowing just three earned runs and recording 13 strikeouts in that span.
Reds: Hannahan returns to lineup Sunday
Reds infielder Jack Hannahan went 0-for-4 in his first appearance of 2014 on Sunday against the Nationals.
The 34-year-old corner infielder -- who played first base and hit sixth -- played in the Majors for the first time this season after missing more than half of the season while recovering from offseason surgery he had on his right shoulder in October.
"It's exciting to get back out there and help these guys win," Hannahan said. "It's been frustrating with the setbacks and not being able to do my job, especially when they needed me to, filling in for the guys and giving guys a day off when they're banged up."
Reds reliever Curtis Partch was optioned to Louisville on Sunday to make room for Hannahan on the roster.
D-Backs: Ahmed gets nod three times in Philadelphia
Rookie shortstop Nick Ahmed started for the third consecutive time and knocked an RBI double in the second inning Sunday against the Phillies.
It's the first time Ahmed -- who was called up in late June -- has been in the starting lineup three times in a row, and the RBI was the second of his 14-game career. D-backs shortstop Chris Owings has missed a month with a bruised left shoulder, giving Ahmed some Major League opportunities.
A second-round pick by the Braves in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Ahmed is hitting .214 this season, but he has hit safely in six of his last seven starts.
• The next save for Reds closer Aroldis Chapman will be the 100th of his career. The hard-throwing lefty was selected as an All-Star this season and has a 2.30 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 31 games (31 1/3 innings).
• The D-backs are currently 10-11 in the month of July. They've only finished above .500 in one month this season when they went 14-13 in May.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.