Nationals Travel to Milwaukee for Four Games with Brewers: A Fan’s View

The Washington Nationals take a brief break from divisional play as they travel to Milwaukee for a four-game series with the Brewers. The Nats opened the second half of the season with a tough task — 14 games in 13 days against NL East opponents — but carry a five-game winning streak to Milwaukee.

While the Nats continue to hold onto first place, the Brewers are falling out of contention in the NL Central. The wheels may be coming off for Milwaukee, which is returning home without a win from a six-game roadtrip to Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

Washington Nationals at Milwaukee Brewers

Thursday, July 26, 8:10 p.m. EDT

Edwin Jackson (5-6, 3.73) vs. Yovani Gallardo (8-7, 3.72)

Friday, July 27, 8:10 p.m. EDT

Ross Detwiler (5-3, 3.01) vs. Mike Fiers (3-4, 1.96)

Saturday, July 28, 7:10 p.m. EDT

Jordan Zimmermann (7-6, 2.31) vs. Randy Wolf (3-6, 5.46)

Sunday, July 29, 2:10 p.m. EDT

Gio Gonzalez (13-5, 3.13) vs. Zack Greinke (9-3, 3.44)

Season Series: This is the first meeting of the year between the teams. After this four-game set in Milwaukee, the Nats will host the Brewers for four games in late September.

The Matchup

The Nationals were essentially breaking even since the All-Star break until taking a trip to New York to face the struggling Mets. The Nats swept the Mets, winning the three games by a combined 18-6, and reestablished some separation in the division. The loss of Ian Desmond to the DL hasn’t slowed an offense that’s finally showing some consistency. The pitching staff continues to lead the majors with a 3.20 ERA.

The Brewers have been a middle-of-the-pack team all season, but their 0-6 roadtrip was deflating. The sweep in Philadelphia was particularly painful, as the Brewers watched the Phillies win each game in their final at-bat, each by the same 7-6 score. While Milwaukee could have won each game, problems in the bullpen were exposed — John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez each have six blown saves on the season. On the offensive side, Ryan Braun continues to be a one-man wrecking crew, with a .318 average, 28 HRs and 69 RBIs.

The Outlook

The Nationals have responded once again, shaking off an embarrassing loss to the Braves and the loss of their All-Star SS. A five-game winning streak should have the team feeling confident again, and the trip to Milwaukee could feel like a respite before heading right back into divisional play against the Phillies.

The Brewers won’t have to face Stephen Strasburg, but the rest of the five-man rotation won’t provide any breaks. The back end of the rotation in Jackson and Detwiler has been on a hot streak, and Zimmermann is on as good a run as anyone in baseball. Sunday features a compelling matchup between Gio Gonzalez, who appears to be back to his All-Star form after a rare subpar outing, and Brewers ace Zack Greinke, who’s been a bit inconsistent while the subject of trade deadline rumors.

SOURCES:

MLB.com: Probable Pitchers

Yahoo! Sports: MLB Stats

KW Rosenfeld is a lifelong baseball fan who visited every major league ballpark in the summer of 1991. A longtime resident of Northern Virginia, he’s still thankful that baseball has returned to D.C.

Jul 27th, 2012 | Posted in Web Resources
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