The Milwaukee Brewers (77-72) will be taking on the top seed Washington Nationals (91-58) for a critical four-game series. The Brewers are coming off a necessary sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, while the Nationals took two out of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Milwaukee is still 2.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot while Los Angeles is now three back.
Friday September 21, 2012
Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.91 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (9-10, 3.89 ERA)
Shaun Marcum will look to continue Milwaukee’s five-game winning streak when he takes the mound against the Nationals. Marcum has yet to find his rhythm since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 25. In five starts, he is 0-1 and has managed to pitch past five innings just once while surrendering 15 earned runs over that span.
Edwin Jackson has not lasted six innings since his outing on Aug. 30 and currently seems to be out of sync. In his last three starts, he has surrendered 13 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings, but has struck out 17 batters over that span. Washington desperately needs him to find his command again before the postseason.
Saturday September 22, 2012
Wily Peralta (2-0, 2.14 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (19-8, 2.95 ERA)
Wily Peralta has been sensational in his first three career MLB starts, all of which have been Milwaukee wins. He has allowed only four earned runs on 14 hits in those three outings and has struck out 12 batters. Peralta was fantastic in his last start in which he pitched an eight-inning, two-hit shutout against the New York Mets.
Gio Gonzalez continues to pitch well for the Nationals, as he has recorded a win in three of his last four starts and six of his last eight. Two of those three victories were shutouts with one of them being a complete game. Gonzalez is pitching with plenty of confidence and rarely seems phased by hitters.
Sunday September 23, 2012
Yovani Gallardo (16-8, 3.59 ERA) vs. Chien-Ming Wang (2-3, 6.92 ERA)
Yovani Gallardo has become one of the top pitchers in all of the baseball since the All-Star break and has dominated since Zack Greinke was traded on July 27. Since then, Gallardo is 8-0 with a 2.69 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 10 starts. There were only two outings over that span in which he surrendered more than two earned runs.
Chien-Ming Wang will make his first start since June 19 after suffering a recurring hip injury. Wang has been moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation and back to relief this season so his confidence does not appear to be high. In one relief appearance since his return from the disabled list, Wang pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings on two hits. There is no question the Brewers’ hot hitters could be all over him from the first pitch.
Monday September 24, 2012
Marco Estrada (4-6, 3.56 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (11-8, 2.96 ERA)
Marco Estrada is pitching with great confidence these days and has won four out of his last six starts. Estrada did not give up a single earned run in all four victories while pitching 24 2/3 innings. He also managed to strike out 27 batters over that span. Estrada had a rough start to the season but he is clearly playing his best baseball at the right time.
Jordan Zimmermann has won two of his last three starts, including Washington’s 90th win of the season. Zimmermann has been solid all year and has really been able to pick up the pace in his recent outings. There is no question he is going strong at the best time and does not appear to be showing any signs of slowing down.