A losing record on a nine-game road trip didn’t extinguish the Milwaukee Brewers’ playoff hopes. Recording back-to-back postseason appearances, though, could be in major jeopardy soon if they don’t improve their play at Miller Park.
They’ll have plenty of chances to try and win their first home series in nearly six weeks with 18 of their next 28 games in Milwaukee, starting Tuesday night with the first of three against the last-place San Diego Padres.
The Brewers (55-56) didn’t make any major deals by the July 31 trade deadline, the same day they began their swing in San Diego.
Milwaukee lost two of three to the Padres (47-66), then split its final six games to go 4-5, leaving it among seven teams within seven games in the NL wild card race.
The Brewers had a chance to head home with a winning record, but couldn’t string together hits in a 2-0 loss at Houston on Sunday.
“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively and were one hit away from getting back in the game and taking the lead,” manager Ken Macha said.
If Milwaukee is to remain in the playoff race, then it needs to play better in Wisconsin. The Brewers are 5-9 at home since July 1 and their 27-26 record there is the worst among wild-card hopefuls.
San Diego lost 20 of 24 to start July, but has recently been one of baseball’s hottest teams. Despite closing out a 10-game homestand with a 5-1 loss to ace Johan Santana(notes) and the New York Mets on Sunday, the Padres have won nine of their last 13.
“Overall, in general, we pitched well and started to swing the bats better as a group,” manager Bud Black told the Padres’ official Web site of the team’s 6-4 homestand. “Overall, we saw some good signs.”
One of those good signs came from Clayton Richard(notes) (1-0, 3.18 ERA), who will face the Brewers for the second time this month. One of four players acquired at the deadline from the White Sox for Jake Peavy(notes), Richard gave up a run and two hits over 5 2-3 innings in his San Diego debut Aug. 1 but didn’t get a decision in a 4-2 win over Milwaukee.
Richard got the decision Thursday in an 8-3 victory over the Mets, allowing three runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. He has been wild, though, issuing seven total walks in his first two NL starts.
Milwaukee added depth to its bullpen Sunday, acquiring former Brewer David Weathers(notes) from Cincinnati, but its rotation is still struggling with Dave Bush(notes) (arm fatigue) and Jeff Suppan(notes) (strained oblique) on the disabled list.
Braden Looper(notes) (10-5, 4.84) will get the call in the opener for the Brewers. He gave up six runs and 10 hits - including homers to Kyle Blanks(notes) and Will Venable(notes) - over five innings in an 11-7 loss to the Padres on July 31.
The right-hander then yielded a run and four hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-1 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday.