Originally posted on The Nats Blog old  |  Last updated 7/26/12

For their last full series of July, the Washington Nationals (58-39) will travel to Milwaukee, a city filled with the ghosts of their past failures, to face the Milwaukee Brewers (44-53). Success in this city has been elusive for the Nats, as the Brewers swept them the last two times they visited Miller Park, and the Nats haven't won a game there since July 28, 2009.

The odds are in the favor of the Nationals on this trip, though, with the Nationals' offense tearing it up and the Brewers pitching staff struggling to execute. The Nationals are currently red hot on a five-game winning streak, while the Brewers are trudging through a six-game losing streak.

Poor Pitching and Crumbling Confidence

The Brewers' pitching is their weakness; their 4.25 ERA ranks 23rd among all major league teams and 13th in the National League. The brunt of that number has been bourn on the shoulders of their relievers, who win the fourth-worst bullpen of the month award with a 5.43 ERA and 0.4 WAR. At least they are consistent though, because their year total numbers are almost just as bad (4.73, 0.4). So far this season, their relievers have been credited with 25 losses and have a 1.56 WHIP, which are both the highest of all major league bullpens.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke recently called a meeting with his struggling relievers to discuss ways to help them start succeeding. Roenicke is focused on helping his 'pen regain confidence, in hopes that better performances will follow.

"Baseball's confidence," Roenicke said, according to MLB.com. "When you're at this level, they're all talented. But the guys that succeed more often are the guys that are very confident, almost to that cockiness point. They forget about the negative stuff and all they worry about is doing something good."

Their offense hasn't done much to support their stumbling pitching, with a slash line of .247/.318/.417 that ranks 21st, 19th and 11th, respectively, among major league teams. The fourth place Brewers have a -14 run differential on the year, compared to the first place Nats' +78. The Nationals have scored 109 runs (5.19 per game) in July and have a 15-7 record, while the Brewers have scored 91 (4.55 rpg) and are 9-11 for the month.

The Hype About Greinke

On Sunday the Nationals' offense will face one of the most recent hot topics in baseball: Zack Greinke. The righty and his 3.44 ERA, 122 strikeouts and 1.20 WHIP are scheduled to face off against Gio Gonzalez in the series finale and what will most likely be Greinke's last start with the Brewers, if he does not get traded before then. According to MLB.com Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin said that Greinke will definitely be traded before the Trade Deadline on Tuesday. Reports indicate that the Texas Rangers and Nationals' rivals the Atlanta Braves are interested in the 28-year-old pitcher, who Melvin has called "a difference-maker" for teams in a pennant race.

Worth Noting

- The Nationals and the Brewers each swept each other in the two series they played last season.

- Historically, the Nats are 21-27 against the Brewers and and 6-18 at Miller Park

Who's hot?

Aramis Ramirez (3B) .278 AVG, .344 OBP, .476 SLG, 5 HR

Corey Hart (RF) .262 AVG, .318 OBP, .489, 17 HR

Mike Fiers (SP) 1.96 ERA, 59.2 IP, 59 SO, 1.06 WHIP

Who's not?

Francisco Rodriguez (RP) 4.80 ERA, .285 AVG, 3 SV, 9 SVO, -- blew three saves in his last five opportunities

Jose Veras (RP) 4.87 ERA, .267 AVG, 1 SV, 2 SVO

Probable Starters

Edwin Jackson (5-6, 3.73 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (8-7, 2.30 ERA)

Ross Detwiler (5-3, 3.01 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (3-4, 1.96 ERA)

Jordan ZImmermann (7-6, 2.31 ERA) vs. Randy Wolf (3-6, 5.46 ERA)

Gio Gonzalez (13-5, 3.13 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (9-3, 3.44 ERA)

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker