Brewers-Marlins Preview

Prized acquisition Zack Greinke appears to be getting closer to

the form he displayed the past few seasons.

Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke knows he still has a way

to go.

Greinke hopes to take another step forward and help the Brewers

sweep the Florida Marlins for the first time in more than a dozen

years in Monday’s series finale.

Milwaukee (33-26) has won each of the first three games of this

series by one run. In Sunday’ 6-5 victory, the Brewers squandered a

5-0, fifth-inning lead and won on Josh Wilson’s home run with two

out in the 11th inning.

The Marlins had a chance in the bottom of the inning, getting

two runners on, but Gaby Sanchez grounded out to end the game.

“We make it hard on ourselves,” Roenicke said. “But we’re

finding every way we can to win.”

The Brewers, who haven’t swept a four-game series from Florida

since April 3-6, 1998, are a major league-best 19-6 since May 9 and

have won each of Greinke’s five starts in this stretch.

After recording a 6.43 ERA in his first four starts with

Milwaukee, Greinke (4-1, 5.29 ERA) has posted a 3.46 ERA in winning

his last two. In Tuesday’s 7-2 win over Cincinnati, Greinke allowed

two runs and six hits while striking out six in six innings.

Although the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner won his fourth

consecutive decision, Greinke struggled a bit with his command. The

right-hander walked three after issuing only three base on balls in

28 innings over his first five outings.

“He’s still not ‘that guy,’ not the guy that I’ve seen,”

Roenicke said. “When he’s right, we’re going to see consistent

performances from him for a long stretch of time.”

This will be Greinke’s second career start against the Marlins

after giving up three runs and nine hits in six innings of a 9-3

win for Kansas City on May 18, 2008.

He’ll be facing a Florida offense struggling to come up with

clutch hits this time, and that will also be missing Hanley

Ramirez.

The 2009 NL batting champion was placed on the 15-day disabled

list hours before this game because of a back strain. Ramirez has

been stuck in a season-long slump, hitting .210 with four home

runs.

The Marlins (31-26) left 11 runners on base Sunday and went 2

for 10 with men in scoring position. They’ve stranded 31 runners

and gone 5 for 32 (.156) with runners in scoring position in this

series.

“That has been the story,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said.

“They’re trying too hard, I guess. They have to be more patient.

Hopefully we can fix that.”

Sanchez had two hits and drove in a run Sunday but also left six

runners on base. He has stranded 11 in this series.

The Marlins have lost four straight games, each by one run, and

seven of nine.

“It hurts, but we’ve got to bounce back,” said Mike Dunn, who

served up Wilson’s homer Sunday. “We’ve got to find a way to win,

plain and simple. We have to dig, scratch, whatever we have to do

to get a win and get out of this.”

Florida has won once in the last five outings by scheduled

starter Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.02).

Vazquez gave up four runs and six hits in six innings in

Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to Arizona but didn’t receive a decision. The

right-hander had given up two runs over 13 innings in his previous

two outings.

Vazquez is 6-7 with a 4.89 ERA in 16 starts against the Brewers

in his 14-year career but has only faced them twice since 2005.

Ryan Braun is 2 for 6 with a homer and triple lifetime against

Vazquez. Braun, who went to college at Miami, has hit safely in his

last 10 games at Sun Life Stadium, batting .350 with two homers and

six RBIs.