The Milwaukee Brewers have bounced back nicely from their second six-game skid since the All-Star break and look to continue that momentum when they host the National League East-leading Washington Nationals on Friday for the second contest of their four-game series. After losing six in a row from Aug. 6-11 to fall back to .500, Milwaukee closed the month with 11 victories in its last 16 games.
Red-hot Jonathan Villar homered for the second straight day and is 7-for-12 with five RBIs in his last three games for the Brewers, who are 3 1/2 games behind the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and 2 1/2 back of Colorado for the second wild card. Stephen Vogt recorded three hits in Thursday’s 6-3 victory and is 5-for-11 since replacing an ailing Manny Pina behind the plate. Nationals leadoff hitter Trea Turner collected three hits in his third game since coming off the disabled list and has scored four runs in that span. Jayson Werth, hitting directly behind Turner, has registered four RBIs in his three games since returning from a lengthy stint on the DL.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Tanner Roark (11-8, 4.63 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Jimmy Nelson (10-6, 3.75)
Roark continued his second-half resurgence last time out versus the New York Mets, winning for the fifth time since the All-Star break by striking out nine in six innings of three-run ball. He won his previous start at Houston, giving up three runs - two earned - over 5 2/3 frames. Ryan Braun is 4-for-10 and Neil Walker 4-for-12 versus Roark, who is 3-0 with a 3.07 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against the Brewers.
Nelson halted a four-start winless drought last time out with a strong outing at the major league-best Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing two runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings to reach double digits in wins for the second time in his career. He turned in a superb effort in a no-decision at Washington on July 26, striking out 10 while allowing two runs in seven frames. Nelson has limited Anthony Rendon to one hit in 10 career at-bats.
1. Brewers RHP Corey Knebel notched his 31st save Thursday, setting a club record for one month with his 13th in August.
2. Rendon is 8-for-17 with seven RBIs during his five-game hitting streak.
3. Pina will undergo more tests on his troublesome hip on Friday.
PREDICTION: Brewers 4, Nationals 3