The Washington Nationals didn’t need to abuse the Milwaukee Brewers‘ fledgling bullpen in order to win Thursday’s series opener. The Nationals simply flexed their muscles in the early innings to breeze to an 8-2 triumph and hand the Brewers their season-high seventh straight setback. Sitting 20 games over .500 for the first time since the 1994 season when the franchise was located in Montreal, Washington will vie for its season-high seventh straight victory on Friday when the clubs play the second contest of a four-game set.
The writing on the wall is visible to Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin, who acknowledged that the struggling team is fielding trade inquiries for stud pitcher Zack Greinke (9-3, 3.44 ERA). The 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner is expected to be moved prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline. Milwaukee has plummeted to a season-worst 10 games under .500 – 14 games behind NL Central-leading Cincinnati.
Nationals Brewers Betting
When: 8:10 PM ET, Friday, July 27, 2012
Where: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), FSWI (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals LH Ross Detwiler (5-3, 3.01 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Mike Fiers (3-4, 1.96)
Detwiler posted his first win since June 5 when he tossed seven solid innings in a 9-2 win over Atlanta on Sunday. The 26-year-old dropped his lone career decision to Milwaukee after permitting five runs and walking three in 3 2/3 innings. He has not faced the Brewers this season.
Fiers has pitched well of late, but a lack of run support has cast a shadow on his recent performances. The rookie is just 1-2 in his last five starts despite yielding only four runs in 33 2/3 innings. Fiers allowed two runs on five hits in six innings en route to a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday.
1. Washington’s Adam LaRoche has homered in three straight contests to extend his hitting streak to five games.
2. After Francisco Rodriguez failed miserably in his attempt to record saves on both Monday and Wednesday against Philadelphia, manager Ron Roenicke confirmed that the team will employ a closer-by-committee approach. John Axford and Livan Hernandez will likely be used in these situations.
3. The Nationals’ offense has clearly been clicking. Washington has scored five or more runs in nine of its last 11 contests.