MLB: Brewers’ Eric Lauer seeks to put off day behind him vs. Nationals

Left-hander Eric Lauer will present the first challenge for the Washington Nationals when they face the Brewers on Friday in the opener of a three-game weekend series in Milwaukee.

Lauer (3-1, 2.60 ERA) will make his seventh start this season for the National League Central-leading Brewers, while right-hander Erick Fedde (2-2, 4.24) gets the nod for the Nationals, last in the NL East. Milwaukee will follow with All-Star right-handers Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta.

Both Milwaukee and Washington were idle Thursday. The Brewers took the rubber game of a three-game home set on Wednesday, rallying past Atlanta 7-6 on Keston Hiura’s two-run homer in the 11th inning, their only round-tripper of the series.

Hiura was recalled earlier Wednesday from Triple-A Nashville when shortstop Willy Adames went on the 10-day injured list with a high left-ankle sprain. Luis Urias, shifted from third to short in Adames’ absence, has reached safely in all 14 games since coming off the IL on May 1, hitting .294.

Milwaukee, which has been shut out four times, split the first two games against the Braves despite scoring just one run, which came home on a wild pitch in the opener. Prior to Wednesday’s comeback win, the Brewers were 1-13 when trailing after eight innings.

The Nationals also are coming off an extra-inning victory, winning 5-4 at Miami in 10 innings on Wednesday to improve to 13-26. They have lost seven of their past 10.

Lauer is coming off his worst start of the season when he was rocked for three home runs in the fourth inning in a 9-3 loss at Miami on Saturday. Lauer was tagged for four runs on six hits in five innings after not allowing more than one earned run in any of his previous four starts.

“He made bad pitches and they made him pay for it,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Not with singles, but with homers. I think if you look at all three pitches, they were pitches he didn’t put where he wanted to.”

Lauer has struck out 49 in 34 2/3 innings while walking just eight, and opponents are hitting .205 against him.

Lauer is 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA in four career starts against the Nationals. In his only start against them last season, he allowed three runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings with no decision.

Fedde, making his eighth start of the season, is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts in May after going 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in April. In his most recent start, he allowed three runs on five hits and three walks in four innings in the Nationals’ 13-6 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday.

“He couldn’t throw consistent strikes and then when he did, it was too much of the plate, and then the walks,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “When you walk that many guys, like I said, he labored for every inning.”

Fedde has not faced the Brewers since 2019. In two appearances vs. Milwaukee, including one start, he has allowed four runs on 11 hits in six innings.

Milwaukee closer Josh Hader is 14 for 14 in save opportunities and has yet to allow a run this season. Hader has converted 28 straight save chances dating back to last season with 35 consecutive scoreless appearances over 33 2/3 innings.

Hader was unavailable Wednesday due to a family situation, Counsell said. His status for Friday hasn’t been announced.

–Field Level Media

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