Washington Nationals (43-31) at Milwaukee Brewers (33-40)
Saturday, June 25 - 4:10 PM EST
Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
A road trip that began with promise is turning into a disaster for the Washington Nationals, who look to avoid a seventh consecutive defeat when they continue their three-game series against the host Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday afternoon. Pitching continues to plague Washington, which has allowed at least four runs in all but one game during its 2-6 trek.
Wilson Ramos went 4-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to eight games and Daniel Murphy contributed two hits and two RBIs in Friday's 5-3 loss for the Nationals. Reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper is 5-for-25 during the six-game skid for Washington, which saw its lead atop the National League East cut to three games. Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a tiebreaking two-run homer and Keon Broxton delivered a pinch-hit solo blast to lift Milwaukee to its second straight win following a 1-7 slide. Brewers right-hander Matt Garza will make his third start of the season against slumping lefty Gio Gonzalez on Saturday.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals LH Gio González (3-6, 4.25 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Matt Garza (0-0, 0.90)
Gonzalez owned a major league-leading 1.86 ERA after beating the New York Mets on May 18, but he has seen it climb to 4.25 over a dismal six-start stretch in which he is 0-5. The latest setback came at San Diego on Sunday, when he was knocked around for six runs - five earned - and walked four batters in 5 1/3 innings. Gonzalez has lost his last three outings away from home, but he is 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA in five career starts versus Milwaukee.
After he was reached for one run and eight hits over four frames at San Francisco in his season debut, Garza amped up his game last time out at the Los Angeles Dodgers. He scattered five hits over six scoreless frames and did not walk a batter but came away with a no-decision. Garza never has beaten the Nationals in eight starts, posting an 0-4 record and unsightly 7.17 ERA, and has had trouble versus Harper (3-for-6) and Ramos (5-for-13).
1. Washington's Nos. 6-8 hitters were a combined 0-for-10 with nine strikeouts in the series opener.
2. Brewers 3B Aaron Hill has hit safely in six of his last seven games following a two-run single Friday.
3. Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (back), who missed his last start, had two ribs popped back into place this week and is expected to pitch Sunday.
PREDICTION: Nationals 5, Brewers 3