The Milwaukee Brewers have matched their season high with eight straight losses. The Florida Marlins will have the right pitcher on the mound to make it nine in a row as the teams continue their three-game series at Miller Park on Saturday.
The Marlins (66-68) beat the Brewers 3-2 in Friday’s series opener, their sixth straight victory over Milwaukee. Florida started the Brewers’ losing streak by sweeping them in four games last week in Miami.
“I figured he (Brewers starter Chris Capuano) might throw (a fastball), and luckily I got good wood on it,” Ross said of his home run that snapped a 1-all tie in the seventh inning.
Florida is two games behind San Diego for the wild card, while the Brewers (62-73) are 6 1/2 back and playing themselves out of contention. They haven’t lost nine in a row since dropping 12 straight from Aug. 18-30, 2004. That was also the last time Milwaukee was at least 11 games under .500.
“There’s just not a whole lot going for us right now, and every mistake or every missed opportunity is very magnified,” Capuano said. “I think everyone is feeling a lot of pressure individually, and that’s a tough thing to break out of sometimes.”
The Marlins will send Josh Johnson (12-6, 2.87 ERA) to the mound Saturday. The right-hander is looking for his fourth straight victory and will also be trying to regain the major league ERA lead from St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter, who threw a three-hitter against Pittsburgh on Friday to move just ahead of Johnson.
Carpenter’s ERA is 2.8651 to Johnson’s 2.8655.
A 22-year-old rookie, Johnson has been one of the top pitchers in the NL this season. He’s been so effective that despite going 3-0 in his last four starts, his ERA has risen from 2.69.
“If it’s there at the end of the year, I’ll take pride in that,” Johnson said of possibly winning the ERA title. “For now, I just have to keep going.”
The last rookie to lead the majors in ERA was Detroit’s Mark Fidrych in 1976.
Johnson beat the Brewers 4-2 on Monday, allowing two runs in 7 2-3 innings. It was his first career start against Milwaukee.
“We faced some good pitching, and we didn’t do much with it,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said.
Ben Sheets (4-6, 4.62), who starts for Milwaukee on Saturday, was the losing pitcher in Monday’s game, allowing three runs—one earned—and six hits in seven innings.
“I thought Benny threw very well,” Yost said. “Really should of given up only one run.”
Sheets has allowed two runs in his last 14 innings, lowering his ERA from 5.54 on Aug. 17.
Sheets is 2-4 with a 3.35 ERA in seven starts against the Marlins.