NATIONALS (14-19) AT BREWERS (20-16)
7:40 p.m. ET; FSWI, MASN2, MLB.TV
The Milwaukee Brewers played to their strengths in a three-game series sweep of the visiting New York Mets over the weekend.
Now the Brewers, winners of three straight, hope to do the same to another incoming National League East club.
Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (3-3, 5.24) will take the ball when the Brewers open a three-game homestand against the Washington Nationals on Monday.
Milwaukee’s Opening Day starter, Chacin has battled consistency issues so far in his seven starts in 2019.
Over 34 1/3 innings pitched, Chacin has yielded a respectable 27 hits, but his major hurdle has been keeping the ball over the plate. He has allowed 18 walks, including three in his best start of the season last time out — a scoreless six-inning outing when he gave up just a pair of hits to the Colorado Rockies.
Chacin is 5-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 10 career starts against the Nationals.
Milwaukee worked the sweep of the Mets with its top players making big contributions.
Ryan Braun homered and Josh Hader earned a six-out save in Friday’s 3-1 victory. Braun had a career-high six hits — including a walk-off two-run single — in Saturday’s 4-3 win in 18 innings, and Christian Yelich returned with a homer and Hader closed out a 3-2 contest for the sweep on Sunday.
Braun, who had six of Milwaukee’s 11 hits in the 18-inning epic, said it was crucial to win a game that lengthy.
“That’s one of those ones you so badly want to win, because if you do win, it feels like you won two or three games,” Braun said. “And if you lose, it feels like you lost 10.”
The Nationals have had a bad week on the scoreboard and in the lineup, and the injuries for the National League East squad continue to mount early in the season.
Slotted in fourth place in the five-team division, Washington dropped five of seven games during the week — three out of four to the St. Louis Cardinals and two of three to the first-place Philadelphia Phillies.
Equally bad for the team was the loss of slugger Juan Soto, who was placed on the 10-day injured list on Saturday. Soto, 20, woke up with back spasms on Saturday, and the team made the transaction then called up Andrew Stevenson from the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies.
Soto, who has six homers and 22 RBIs in 28 games, joins a growing list of vital Washington players on the IL.
Infielders Anthony Rendon (bruised elbow), Trea Turner (broken finger) and Ryan Zimmerman (plantar fasciitis) are all out, and reliever Trevor Rosenthal (viral infection) is at the team’s Florida training facility working on his mechanics as he recovers.
Also, Matt Adams (shoulder) and Michael A. Taylor (wrist) left Saturday’s 10-8 comeback win over the Phillies, shortening manager Dave Martinez’s bench, with Adam landing on the IL.
Max Scherzer (1-4, 4.08) will start for the Nationals, who played with a mix-and-match lineup Sunday against Philadelphia due to the assorted injuries. He is 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA in eight career games (seven starts) against the Brewers.
Catcher Kurt Suzuki, whose pinch-hit, three-run homer proved to be the difference in Saturday’s victory, said the key to succeeding with a depleted lineup is for players to play to their abilities.
“I think we stay within ourselves, and not try to be a Juan Soto or a Zimmerman or a Rendon,” said Suzuki, who homered for the third straight game in Sunday’s 7-1 loss to the Phillies. “We just stay within ourselves and do what we can to help the team win, good things will happen.”
–Field Level Media