Padres-Brewers Preview


With the week the Milwaukee Brewers have been through, salvaging a series split with the San Diego Padres would mean a lot.

So would another strong outing from Yovani Gallardo.

Gallardo goes for a third straight winning decision Thursday in the finale of this four-game set.

After news broke Monday that 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun would be suspended for the remainder of the season for violations of Major League Baseball's drug policy, the Brewers (42-58) dropped the first two games of this series, getting four hits in each.

Milwaukee, though, won 3-1 on Wednesday behind All-Star Carlos Gomez's career high-tying four hits and two RBIs.

"We really needed a little bit of good news after this week,'' starter Kyle Lohse said. "We have to focus on the job we have to do. This season has not turned out the way I or anyone on this team thought it would. But we have to focus on the next two months and go out and win as many games as we can.''

The Brewers conclude their seven-game homestand with Gallardo (8-8, 4.58 ERA) looking to build on a much-needed quality start. The right-hander threw 6 1-3 innings of five-hit ball in Saturday's 6-0 win over Miami after going 1-2 with an 8.53 ERA in his previous four starts.

"I thought the rhythm was really good in his delivery," manager Ron Roenicke told the Brewers' official website. "That's the guy that we need to carry on with."

Despite his struggles and career-worst ERA, Gallardo could be on the move with Wednesday's trade deadline approaching.

Even if he sticks around, the Brewers may start shipping off more players after dealing closer Francisco Rodriguez to Baltimore on Tuesday for third base prospect Nick Delmonico.

San Diego (45-57) figures to be a seller as well, but it's hard to see anyone showing much interest in Edinson Volquez (7-8, 5.73).

Volquez has the highest ERA of any qualifying NL starter and has lasted six innings just twice in his last seven starts. He struggled to finish five in his last outing, giving up three runs in a 5-3 win at St. Louis on Saturday.

"It was tough,'' said Volquez, who had a 10.45 ERA while losing his previous two starts. "... My pitching count (107) was a little bit high.''

The right-hander did have his best start of the season against Milwaukee on April 24, throwing seven shutout innings in a 2-1 home win that prevented a Brewers sweep.

Rickie Weeks is 2 for 23 against Padres pitching this season, but his .412 average (7 for 17) off Volquez is the second-highest among those with 15 at-bats. Two of those hits were homers.

San Diego's Nick Hundley has homered in the past two games in this series. He has three hits - including two doubles - in six-at bats versus Gallardo.