The Washington Nationals hope Jordan Zimmermann can break out of his funk when he takes the mound Friday in the opener of a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Zimmermann is 0-3 with a 7.52 earned run average in his last four starts and the Nationals have dropped his previous three outings. In an 11-0 loss to the New York Mets last Friday, Zimmermann allowed five runs in 6 2/3 innings, one start after giving up seven runs in two innings versus Los Angeles.
The right-handed Zimmermann defeated Milwaukee on July 1 this season and has won all three career starts against the Brewers.
Washington was swept in a brief two-game series by the Detroit Tigers and dropped an 11-1 decision on Wednesday. Gio Gonzalez was outdueled by Tigers ace Justin Verlander and was rocked for 10 runs and 11 hits in only 3 1/3 innings. He also gave up two homers.
"This isn't going to dictate who I am as a pitcher," Gonzalez said of his poor outing. "I'm going to go out there and keep pitching how I pitch and try to get more wins for the team."
Verlander tossed six innings of one-run ball and fanned six batters.
Jayson Werth was credited with the lone RBI, while Denard Span and Bryce Harper had two hits apiece for the Nats.
Washington is 11 1/2 games off the lead in the NL East and 7 1/2 games behind in the wild card standings.
"We have two more months of baseball. If we play what we are capable of playing, we will win this and we will do this, and I know it for a fact because we have a great team, we have a great organization, we have guys on this team that are unbelievable," Harper said. "We have to keep going, keep grinding and do the things that we need to do."
Milwaukee had a three-game winning streak come to an end with Wednesday's 6-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs in the finale of a four-game set.
Wily Peralta absorbed the loss for giving up four runs -- three earned -- in five innings.
"He threw some pitches I thought in some counts where I didn't particularly like the pitch," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "He wasn't bad, just the mistakes that he made ended up hurting him."
Jonathan Lucroy had two hits and drove in the only run for a Brewers club that is pretty much out of the playoff race at 13 1/2 games off one of the two wild card spots.
Taking the mound for the Brewers Friday will be Tom Gorzelanny and the left- hander is 2-4 with a 2.83 ERA in 37 games, five of which have been starts. Gorzelanny ended a four-game slide in Saturday's 7-5 win at Colorado even though he was touched for four runs in 5 1/3 frames.
Gorzelanny owns a lifetime mark of 3-3 with a 4.23 ERA in nine games (3 starts) against the Nationals, a club he played for in 2011 and 2012.
The Brewers and Nationals have split four matchups this season.