A pair of struggling teams will look to create some positive momentum as the Milwaukee Brewers host the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night. The Brewers won Monday’s series opener 6-1. The Washington Nationals are slight favorites at -110 over Milwaukee on Tuesday.
The Brewers only recently snapped a 7-game losing streak that saw them fall below the Cubs in the NL Central. They’ve won just four of their last 14 games and now trail the Cubs by 2.5 games while clinging to the top wild-card spot amidst a sea of injuries to their pitching staff.
Washington, meanwhile, has still now found a way to get going this year. After Monday’s loss, the Nationals are once again under .500 on the season. They are six games behind the Braves and Phillies in both the NL East and the wild-card standings. Tuesday marks Washington’s 100th game of the season, so time is starting to run out.
He’s Back But Is He Ready?
Junior Guerra will return from the DL to start Tuesday’s game for the Brewers. He only missed the minimum of 10 days with forearm tightness, so it’s not as if he’s coming back from an extended absence. Despite failing to make the opening day roster, Guerra has had a great year, posting a 3.23 ERA across 18 starts. However, he got roughed up in his last start before going on the DL, giving up six runs on nine hits over four innings. If his arm issues aren’t behind him, he could have another rough outing.
On the bright side, Guerra has good numbers against most of Washington’s hitters, although in a small-sample-size. Of course, the likes of Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy, and Juan Soto have gotten off to fast starts in the second half, so the Nationals may be due for a good offensive night despite scratching out just one run against the Brewers on Monday.
Keeping It Steady
The Nationals will send Jeremy Hellickson to the mound on Tuesday. Outside of Max Scherzer, Hellickson has been the team’s most consistent starter this year despite missing most of June with an injury. In 13 starts this year, Hellickson is 4-1 with a 3.29 ERA. His last two starts have been particularly impressive, as he’s tossed 11 innings while giving up just one run on four hits.
Of course, Hellickson has had some issues with a few of Milwaukee’s hitters during his career. Ryan Braun is 5 for 14 (.357) with an OPS of 1.113 against Hellickson in his career. Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich have also had some success against the veteran. Yelich has also started the second half on fire, going 8 for 16 with five extra-base hits in four games. However, the rest of the Brewers have been sluggish since the all-star break.
Back to .500
With a win on Tuesday, the Nationals can get back to .500, and that’s exactly what will happen. Guerra is a question mark coming off the forearm problem and a bad start. Milwaukee’s offense hasn’t exactly clicked lately either. Hellickson is in good form and should be able to keep the Brewers under wraps. That should be the difference in the game, especially since both teams have solid bullpens. Take the Washington Nationals -110 over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.