February 22, 2020

Washington Nationals Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers

For the Nationals, who have been scuffling along these past couple of weeks, facing a team like the Brewers has to feel like good news. Of course, that’s probably what they thought when they faced the Reds at the end of May…and that’s when the recent struggles started.

But the Brewers (22-38) sit below the Reds in the National League Central standings, and behind almost every other team in every other division. Which is to say, record-wise they’re one of the worst teams in baseball. (They are a half-game in front of the Phillies.)

And even though the Nationals (31-28) have gone just 3-6 so far in June, their closest competitors in the National League East, the Mets, have not done any better. (One would argue, after being no-hit Tuesday by the Giants, the Mets have been worse, even if the record doesn’t show it.) The Nationals’ extra inning win over the Yankees Wednesday afternoon has them back in first place by a half-game, and now they get a chance to build on that momentum against a bad team in Milwaukee.

Of course, the Nats challenges, and there are many, were added to as Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 15-day DL with plantar fasciitis. They recalled Matt den Dekker to replace him on the roster, so we’ll see a combination of Tyler Moore and Clint Robinson at first base for the foreseeable future. They also made a move to bolster the bullpen, trading for David Carpenter from the Yankees, in exchange for minor league 2B Tony Renda.

*The Last Time…

The Nationals and Brewers last met last July, when they opened their post-All Star break schedules against one another. The Nationals took two of three in the series, which included a Tanner Roark-Matt Garza matchup like the opener in this series. Garza has to hope for a better outcome: the Nationals knocked him out of the box after a third of an inning last year, scoring five times in the first inning. Washington also took two out of three when the teams met in Milwaukee earlier last year.

*In The Other Dugout

One indication of just how poorly things have gone for the Brewers this season is their record at home. The Brewers are a major league-worst 9-20 in Milwaukee, dropping seven of their last eight at home.

*Matchup To Watch

Aramis Ramirez is not having a great season so far (not many Brewers are), but he has enjoyed facing Jordan Zimmermann in the past: Ramirez is 8 for 22 with 4 doubles and a homer in his career against Saturday’s Nationals starter.

*Probables

Thursday, 8:10pm: Tanner Roark (2-2, 3.16 ERA) vs. Matt Garza (4-7, 5.09 ERA)

Friday, 8:10pm: TBA vs. Mike Fiers (2-6, 4.06 ERA)

Saturday, 4:10pm: Jordan Zimmermann (5-3, 3.18 ERA) vs. Jimmy Nelson (3-6, 4.05 ERA)

Sunday, 2:10pm: Max Scherzer (6-5, 2.13 ERA) vs. TBA

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