The problems have become so plentiful for the Milwaukee Brewers that it’s hard to determine where the solutions will come from.
Even the Washington Nationals got the best of them to begin a three-game series.
The second game of the series comes Saturday at Washington, with the Brewers intent on snapping a seven-game losing streak. A quality outing from the mound might be foremost on Milwaukee’s wish list.
“When you get short starts, the other team has scored, you’re probably playing from behind,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of what has worn out the pitching staff. “Our bullpen is a little (limited). We’ve got some injuries down there and we’re asking some guys to cover innings.”
Counsell said roster moves to replenish the bullpen prior to Saturday’s game are likely.
The Nationals might have trouble topping their production considering they racked up 19 hits on Friday.
“We got some hits that we normally don’t get, which was kind of nice,” Washington manager Davey Martinez said.
The Nationals haven’t exactly been rolling. They halted a three-game skid on Friday in their first game after a 3-7 road trip.
In order to go on a roll, the Nationals will need more widespread contributions. Every batter in the lineup had at least one hit on Friday, led by Nelson Cruz’s four hits. He also homered and knocked in three runs one night after he was scratched from the lineup because of back tightness.
“He knows himself better than anybody else,” Martinez said. “He said he felt good. He took swings and everything. He was able to play, and you saw what he did. Hopefully, he gets some rest (Friday night) and comes back and does the same thing (Saturday).”
The Brewers will go with left-hander Eric Lauer (5-1, 2.38 ERA) as their Saturday starter, hoping he can tame the Nationals like he did across seven shutout innings on May 20. That result gave him a 1-1 record and a 2.70 ERA in five career starts vs. Washington.
Lauer has allowed just one home run across his past four starts overall, covering 22 innings. That might be significant after the Nationals homered four times in the series opener.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin (2-8, 6.71 ERA) will be Washington’s starter on Saturday.
Corbin won his last outing, logging six innings and allowing three runs at Cincinnati on Sunday. He has won two of the past three after a May 21 loss at Milwaukee dropped his season record to 0-7. The key to the Reds game was that he turned in just his second walk-free performance of the season.
Corbin has rarely fared well against the Brewers, as he is 3-7 with 4.91 ERA against them in 12 all-time matchups, including 11 starts.
He will hope to slow Nationals left fielder Lane Thomas, who went 3-for-5 with three runs on Friday. Thomas six multi-hit games in seven appearances this month, giving him a .438 average (14-for-32) in June. This comes after he went 1-for-22 in his last seven games in May.
Thomas moved to the No. 2 spot in the batting order on June 3. After a week in that position, he hit leadoff on Friday.
“I kind of like that whole setup,” Martinez said of having Thomas top the lineup.
The Brewers made a roster move on Friday, reinstating catcher Omar Narvaez from the COVID-19 injured list and placing catcher Alex Jackson on the 10-day injured list due to a sprained left middle finger. Narvaez moved right back into the lineup, going 1-for-3 with a walk in the blowout loss.
“Everybody has got to pick each other up,” Counsell said. “We haven’t been good in very many areas, and that’s why we find ourselves with a losing streak.”
–Field Level Media