Preview: Brewers at Phillies
PHILADELPHIA — Looking to snap a season-worst six game losing streak, the Milwaukee Brewers will send left-hander Brent Suter to the mound against the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday.
Suter, who will make his fifth start of the season, is 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA, but pitching hasn’t been the Brewers’ main concern lately. He has yet to face the Phillies in his career.
Manager Craig Counsell knows his team is struggling at the plate and the only way to turn the team’s fortune around is to change that.
Milwaukee has scored only 12 runs during its six-game slide and its lead atop the National League Central has been cut to one over the Chicago Cubs.
“We’re going to have tough matchups and you have to produce runs against those tough matchups,” Counsell said. “You’re not going to win games scoring one run, not very often.”
In fact, the Brewers haven’t won a 1-0 game this entire season.
Still, Counsell remains confident that the hits will come and his club will turn things around.
“We got beat good tonight, but we’ve played well,” he said. “To me, in Pittsburgh, we played well things just didn’t go our way. We just gotta keep at it. There’s a test tomorrow and there’s a test the following day so plenty of more tests to come and to pass and we just gotta keep at it.”
Among those struggling at the place recently is outfielder Keon Broxton. The 27-year-old is in the midst of a 1-for-11 slump, including a pinch-hit strikeout on Friday against the Phillies.
“He’s struggling, there’s no question about it,” Counsell said. “There’s no other way to say it, he’s struggling. We’re certainly searching for answers with him. He’s been hot and cold this year, certainly, and he’s in a tough stretch right now.”
The return of Ryan Braun to the lineup could be just what the manager ordered. Counsell said before Friday’s game that he expects Braun to return Saturday against the Phillies after being out with a sore wrist.
Braun will be facing Philadelphia’s Jeremy Hellickson. The right-hander has pitched to the tune of a 4.44 ERA this season, and with the Phillies sure to be sellers as the trade deadline looms near, he could be auditioning for his next team.
Hellickson hasn’t won back-to-back starts since April 27, something he’ll look to do against Milwaukee after beating the Brewers in his last start back on July 16. Hellickson is 3-1 in his career vs. the Brewers with a 2.89 ERA in five starts.
Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said shortstop Freddy Galvis “set the tone” in Friday’s win with his two-run home run in the first inning. Galvis has been in the midst of a year-and-a-half long power surge that seems like it could be here to say, hitting 31 home runs since the beginning of 2016 and 11 this season.
Phillies outfielder Howie Kendrick returned from the disabled list on Friday against the Brewers, reaching base on a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning. Kendrick could return to the starting lineup Saturday, especially with Daniel Nava’s status unknown.
Nava was lifted from Friday’s win in the seventh inning for Cameron Perkins. According to Mackanin, Nava has a hamstring injury that will be re-evaluated on Saturday.
“He’s got a slight hamstring strain, left hamstring,” Mackanin said. “It’s day to day right now and we’ll look at him tomorrow. Hopefully it’s not serious.”