Nothing has been going right for the Milwaukee Brewers, who have dropped from first to fourth in the NL Central in a matter of weeks.
Their upcoming schedule, though, gives them a chance to make up ground in a hurry.
The Brewers look to get back on track with consecutive series against the two worst teams in baseball, beginning Monday night with a four-game set versus the Washington Nationals.
Milwaukee (49-49) opened July with a two-game lead atop the division but is 7-14 this month, dropping three games back of the first-place Chicago Cubs.
In Sunday’s 10-2 loss to Atlanta, the Brewers had 10 hits but left seven runners on base. They’ve been unable to get key hits, batting .191 (13 for 68) with runners in scoring position in 10 games since the All-Star break.
“We’re not pleasing a lot of people so we’ve got to figure out a way to get it going,” said Corey Hart(notes), who hit a two-run homer Sunday after going 4 for 17 with seven strikeouts in his previous six games.
Although the Brewers are one loss away from falling below .500 for the first time since they were 9-10 on April 27, their schedule puts them in position to stay above the break-even mark.
After playing Washington (30-68), owner of baseball’s worst record, Milwaukee has three games at San Diego, which is a major league-worst 4-19 this month.
The Brewers have had no trouble beating the Nationals lately at home, outscoring them 35-10 in winning the last seven meetings at Miller Park.
Washington arrives in Milwaukee following Sunday’s 3-2, 10-inning win over the Padres, its second straight victory.
The Nationals are trying to win three in a row for the first time since a season-high four-game run from June 17-20, but it won’t be easy considering the way they play on the road. Washington has dropped nine of 10 away from Nationals Park and is a major league-worst 10-35 on the road.
While the Nationals have had no luck in Milwaukee lately, slugger Adam Dunn(notes) is batting .371 (13 for 35) with six home runs and 15 RBIs in 12 games there over the past two seasons. He is also 13 for 27 (.481) with one homer and six doubles lifetime versus scheduled starter Jeff Suppan(notes) (5-7, 4.71 ERA).
Suppan yielded five runs and seven hits - four home runs - in a season-low 3 1-3 innings in Milwaukee’s 8-7 loss at Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Since beating the Chicago White Sox on June 12, the right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.12 ERA in seven starts with the Brewers winning just twice in that span.
Suppan also hasn’t had much success against the Nationals lately, allowing nine runs - five earned - in 10 2-3 innings in losing his last two starts versus them. This will be his first start of the season against Washington.
After going 1-3 with a 5.44 ERA in his first eight career starts, Stammen is 2-2 with a 2.15 ERA in four outings this month. He has yielded just four runs over 13 innings in those two losses, getting one run of support.
On Wednesday, the right-hander allowed one run and four hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 3-1 win over the New York Mets.