The Brewers enter play tonight ten games under .500 for the first time since they were 73-83 on September 28, 2010. They're also losers of seven straight games for the first time since May 6, 2011.
Hopefully they'll snap out of their losing ways tonight with Mike Fiers (1.96 ERA, 2.26 FIP) on the mound. Fiers has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since joining the rotation in May. He pitched six innings against the Reds on Sunday and allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and no walks while striking out four in a game the Brewers went on to lose 2-1. He threw 92 pitches in that game.
Despite the fact that Fiers has an ERA under 2 the Brewers are just 3-6 in his starts this season. He's already had four quality starts turn into no decisions or losses, including all three of his starts in July.
Fiers has never faced the Nationals and no current Nationals have faced him before in the majors.
He'll face 26-year-old lefthander Ross Detwiler (3.01 ERA, 3.68 FIP), the #6 overall pick in the 2007 draft. The Brewers drafted seventh that year and selected Matt LaPorta. Detwiler is in his fifth major league season but his first as a full-timer: His 20 appearances, 14 starts and 92.2 innings are all career highs. He beat the Braves on Sunday, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits over seven innings, walking one and striking out three.
On top of being very effective, Detwiler has also been quite efficient this season. He's thrown at least five innings in 13 games, six innings in seven games and seven innings twice despite the fact that he finished with less than 100 pitches thrown in all of those contests. He throws a low-to-mid 90's fastball with a curve and changeup, and hitters make contact on almost 85% of their swings against him.
Detwiler faced the Brewers one time in a brief start in 2010, but didn't see them last year. No current Brewers have faced him ten times or more, but Aramis Ramirez (1-for-6) and Rickie Weeks (1-for-3) have both homered off of him.
In the bullpen:
Tyler Thornburg pitched one inning (20 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Wednesday.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (18 pitches) last night.
Jim Henderson pitched one inning (9 pitches) last night.
John Axford pitched two innings (26 pitches) Wednesday.
Livan Hernandez pitched two innings (26 pitches) Wednesday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched .2 innings (15 pitches) Wednesday.
Jose Veras and Manny Parra last pitched on Tuesday.
It's a little cooler in Milwaukee today, which should make for a comfortable night at Miller Park. The game time temperature will be around 75 and falling into the upper 60s as the night goes along. There are some scattered showers possible, so the roof could close if needed.