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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ Washington Nationals

The Brewers head out to Washington D.C to see what the other side of the NL East looks like

Milwaukee Brewers v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Across the last three weeks’ worth of games, the Milwaukee Brewers have gone head-to-head with a contending team. Whether it be in the division, such as the Reds and now Cubs, the Wild Card with the Phillies, or against one of the best teams in baseball, the Atlanta Braves, the Brewers held their own. They went 12-10 in that stretch, in which they won nine of 13 against their closest division rivals the Cubs and Reds. After getting swept by the Braves, they find themselves a half-game back in the NL Central.

They now find some relief, transitioning from one of their hardest stretches of the season to one of their easiest, on paper. Against teams that are below .500, the Brewers are 21-14 (.600) compared to 36-35 (.507) against teams above .500. This three-game set against the 44-62 Washington Nationals kicks off 13 straight games against sub-.500 teams.

They also welcome back one of many key pitching arms at the back end of this series against the Nationals. Left-hander Wade Miley, who has been sidelined with an elbow injury since July 17, is scheduled to make his return on Wednesday. Miley has been one of the surprises this season, posting a 6-2 record with a 3.06 ERA before going on the injured list. When the Brewers talk about trade deadline acquisitions, he falls under the list of “Players that act as a trade acquisition, but isn’t a trade." The Brewers hope his return will add stability to a successful, yet inexperienced, rotation down the stretch.

On the other end of the field, the Nationals are on their way to another losing season. Since winning the World Series back in 2019, they have been unable to produce a winning season. In 2022, they won just 55 games, finishing last in the NL East for the second year in a row. While they don’t get any favors sharing a division with the Atlanta Braves, the Nationals currently sit 24.5 games out of first place.

Due to the fact the trade deadline is around the corner and the Nationals are one of the few clear sellers in the MLB, the lineup in game one might look different than in game three. As it stands, they are led at the plate by Lane Thomas. The right fielder is slashing .285/.333/.472 with 16 home runs. His 16 home runs are tied with Jeimer Candelario for the team lead. Another player to watch is Joey Meneses, who will start at DH. He has put together a nice season, leading the team in RBIs with 55, while slashing .278/.320/.395.

Pitching Matchups

Monday, July 31 @ 6:05 p.m.: Corbin Burnes (9-6) vs. Jake Irving (3-5)

Corbin Burnes has shown his elite-level stuff across the last month of the season. In July, Burnes has a 1.64 ERA and a 4-1 record while striking out 42 batters in 33 innings of work. His lone loss of the month came his last time out against the Reds, where he went six innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits.

Jake Irving is in his first season as a big leaguer, and he has shown some struggles early on. His ERA is pushing 5.00 (4.96), and he has had only one outing in which he didn’t allow an earned run, which was back on May 8. He has allowed multiple runs in each of his last five starts.

Tuesday, August 1 @ 6:05 p.m.: Freddy Peralta (6-8) vs. Josiah Gray (7-8)

Freddy Peralta had one of the best starts in his career the last time he was on the mound. His 13 strikeouts tied a career-high, and he held the Reds to just four hits. In the last month, he has pitched well against the Reds but struggled elsewhere. His two games against the Reds are the only such games in which Peralta allowed zero runs across the last four months.

Josiah Gray leads the Nationals in ERA (3.27) and is tied with Patrick Corbin for wins at seven. The All-Star starter appears to be the future of the Washington starting rotation at just 25 years old. He has 102 strikeouts on the season and a WHIP of 1.41.

Wednesday, August 2 @ 12:05 p.m.: Wade Miley (6-2) vs. MacKenzie Gore (6-8)

As mentioned above, Miley makes his return from the injured list on Wednesday. He was one of the surprises early in the season for the Brewers, establishing himself as a reliable starter who could consistently produce quality starts. His return will be a welcomed addition for Brewers fans as they stay in contention for a return to the playoffs.

Gore, who was a part of the trade that sent Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres last season, has struggled to get some momentum during his first full season as a National. He has a 4.42 ERA and allowed three runs in five innings of work his last time on the mound, a 5-1 loss to the New York Mets.