The Brewers started an important trip out West with a weekend series win against the NL Wildcard-leading Colorado Rockies, taking two out of three games. The Brewers have now won 6 of their past 10 games, and with the Arizona Diamondbacks also struggling over the weekend, the Brew Crew are now just 2.5 GB of a wildcard spot while remaining 2 GB in the NL Central race.
They'll look to keep things going against the third-worst team in the majors -- the San Francisco Giants. The Brewers split four games with the Giants in Milwaukee in early June, winning the middle two games of the series before losing the series finale in extra innings.
Typically known for light offense but excellent pitching, both areas have been a struggle in the Bay this year. Outside of Madison Bumgarner, there are some ugly-looking ERAs on this staff, with Giants pitchers allowing more than their fair share of baserunners. Luckily for the Brewers, they're dodging the lefty this week and facing three guys who have been having high-traffic starts all year.
Monday, 9:15 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Zach Davies vs. Chris Stratton
A first round pick in 2012, Stratton is coming off the first win of his major league career, striking out 10 nationals in 6.2 shutout innings on August 13th. Despite that outing, it's been a bit of a rough year for soon-to-be 27-year-old. In 25.2 big league innings, he's allowed 14 runs on 26 hits, striking out 22 and walking 13. His numbers in Triple-A haven't been much better: a 5.11 ERA in 15 starts, allowing 94 hits (and 10 home runs) in 79.1 innings. He does have an 8.1 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9 in Sacramento, but he's been hittable for much of his professional career. So far this year, he's relied heavily on a low-90s fastball, throwing it more than 63% of the time (keep in mind half of his six appearances have been out of the bullpen, though). He also mixes in a curveball and a slider.
Tuesday, 9:15 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Jimmy Nelson vs. Jeff Samardzija
Samardzija's ERA has been ugly for most of the year, but you could argue he's actually pitching better than he has for the past several years. He'll come into this series being charged with a 4.79 ERA, but the FIP is a much more respectable 3.55 and he's sporting a nifty 9.2 K/9 -- his highest mark since 2012 with the Cubs -- and a league-leading 1.3 BB/9. Where he's been hurt is when opponents actually make contact -- their .325 BABIP against him is 40 points higher than it was last season, and he's given up 24 home runs already on the year, matching last year's total in about 40 fewer innings. The Brewers know firsthand how good he can still be when he's "on" this year -- he struck out 10 and walked none over 7.2 innings in a win over the Brewers in early June.
Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Matt Garza vs. Matt Moore
While Samardzija may have been a little unlucky this year, Moore has mostly just been bad. Over 25 starts, he's allowed the most earned runs in baseball, translating to a 5.54 ERA in 143 innings. He's also been hit to the tune of a .323 BABIP, but unlike Samardzija, he's compounded that problem by also walking 8.4% of the batters he's faced and only striking out 19.3%. Things have looked more promising in his past two starts, though, as he's allowed only 2 earned runs in each of his last two outings, pitching into the 8th inning in his last start and only surrendering two hits.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs