The Milwaukee Brewers play host to the Washington Nationals to start the week for a three-game series. It’s the first series of the season for the Nats and Brew Crew, with their last meeting coming last September with a 9-4 win for Milwaukee. The Nationals were bulldozed on Sunday afternoon, as they took a 7-1 loss in the series finale against the Phillies.
Anibal Sanchez had a productive day at the office, but it was reliever Matt Grace who got popped for 5 earned runs in the bottom of the 6th inning. It was a close game up until that point, but like so often this season, the bullpen for the Nats lost control and allowed the game to get out of hand.
The Nationals were winners on Saturday with a come from behind victory of 10-8. Other than that, they were losers in two of three over the weekend against the Phillies. They have losses in five of their last seven games, as this season continues to prove difficult for the Nationals.
Taking Bryce Harper out of the lineup hurts, but their real problem has been the play of the bullpen. They’ve been getting killed at every opportunity. It’s holding them back in the NL East. First baseman, Matt Adams, was recently moved to the IL, so it’s another blow to a team who has watched the injuries pile up high.
Anthony Rendon has carried the torch in the absence of Harper. He is set to get paid and is the best hitter on the Nationals. However, he’s been bothered by injuries as well and won’t return to the lineup until at least Tuesday. They’re going to be short-handed going into Milwaukee for Monday’s contest. Max Scherzer is going to be counted on to carry the load this evening. Head below for our free Nationals vs. Brewers pick.
Washington Nationals vs. Milwaukee Brewers Pick:
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Max Scherzer has been feeling cold recently and it isn’t like him to get behind so much. He enters with an ERA of 4.17, which is way above his career average of 3.24. In four years as a National, his ERA has never eclipsed the 4.00 mark by the end of the year.
Scherzer is coming off a productive year in which he tossed a 2.53 ERA in 2018. He was consistent with a 2.51 ERA in 2017, so he can’t be blamed for the Nationals’ recent failures. Something has looked off for him this season, though, as he’s had some rare rough outings to deal with.
It’s mainly been issues for Scherzer on the road this season. Washington hasn’t been too bad, but he could need a nice stats boost on the road in this outing. Scherzer holds an ERA of 7.71 when taking the show on the road. That also includes a 1.63 WHIP and .389 OBA. He was roughed up against the Mets for 4 runs and Marlins for 6 runs across 11.2 innings of work.
Scherzer has been solid against this Milwaukee team, but we’ve usually seen him operating at full speed. The Brewers have typically had to face Scherzer when he is a pitching machine. Also, Christian Yelich has had success against him, with 3 long balls and a .385 batting average in 26 at-bats. And if Scherzer doesn’t go 7 or 8 innings, expect the bullpen situation to get dicey for the Nats.
Washington are dead last in the majors with an ERA of 6.18 from their relievers. That’s a bigger hit to their success than losing Bryce Harper. He wasn’t doing anything last year in the spring, as he was struggling and being considered overrated with his numbers dipping.
The Nationals have tried to avoid their bullpen, as they’ve appeared in just 94.2 innings, second lowest in the major leagues. Chacin is coming off a standout performance against the Rockies for the Brewers.
He gave up just 2 hits and no runs across 6 innings of work. That’s been the case for him at home this season, as he enters with a 2.76 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in Milwaukee. Good game on tap here, but with Scherzer off recently and the Washington bullpen unreliable, the Brewers look good at this price.