The Milwaukee Brewers’ final road trip before the All-Star break continues to get worse.
The Brewers try to avoid a fourth straight loss when they open a three-game series with the Washington Nationals on Friday.
Milwaukee (48-37) held a 7 1/2-game lead over the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central heading into its current trip, but that lead has dropped to 4 1/2. The Brewers are just 2-5 on their stint away from home, losing both series to the Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Milwaukee won its opener with the Pirates, but dropped the final three games of the series, getting outscored 17-8. The Brewers were held to six hits in a 6-3 defeat in Thursday’s finale and lost center fielder Bill Hall to a sprained right ankle when he climbed the wall trying to pull down a home run.
Milwaukee isn’t certain how long Hall will be out, but his high ankle sprain is the most severe form of the injury.
“Everything was good except for the landing,” said Hall, who returned to Milwaukee to see doctors. “I wasn’t prepared to land. … Hopefully, I’m a quick healer.”
Geoff Jenkins replaced Hall and went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. Corey Hart was a bright spot as he extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a double in the fifth. He is 33-for-96 (.344) during the streak, but is just 2-for-12 during his career at RFK Stadium.
The Brewers are now trying to avoid losing four in a row for the first time since a season-high six-game skid May 22-28. They have had better luck versus the Nationals (34-51), sweeping them in three games May 7-9.
Milwaukee posted a 1.67 ERA during that series and will look for another strong showing when Dave Bush (6-7, 5.11 ERA) takes the mound.
The right-hander won two starts and a relief appearance from June 16-27, posting a 1.76 ERA, but saw that streak end Sunday when he allowed four runs and six hits over six innings in a 5-1 defeat to the Cubs. Bush walked two and struck out five in his first loss since June 4.
He is 1-2 with a 4.41 ERA in three career starts versus the Nationals, including a 6-4 win on May 8 when he allowed three runs over 6 2-3 innings.
Washington dropped three of four games to the Cubs to begin its final homestand before the break, including a 4-2 defeat in Thursday’s finale. Nationals first baseman Dmitri Young went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple, and is 3-for-5 with a homer during his career versus Bush.
Despite Young’s effort on Thursday, Washington was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight.
“It’s going to turn around for us,” said Young, who is batting .339 and is the Nationals only All-Star representative. “As a young team, this is what you’ve got to go through to find success. You’ve got to have failures.”
Washington has lost 14 of its last 19 games, getting outscored 103-53. The Nationals may have trouble ending that skid with Mike Bacsik (2-5, 4.65) on the mound as they are 2-7 in his nine starts this season and have scored three or fewer runs in all but one of those appearances.
The left-hander dropped five consecutive decisions from May 30-June 26 while posting a 6.46 ERA and allowing opponents to hit .328. He bounced back with a 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday, allowing just two runs—one earned—and five hits over six innings.
Bacsik has never faced the Brewers.