Game 40 lineups: Nats at Brewers

MILWAUKEE – Hello from the stadium formerly known as Miller Park. It’s now American Family Field, and yes, that’s going to take a while to get used to. The Nationals come to town for a three-game weekend series with the Brewers, hoping for some better results than they experienced during the first half of this trip in Miami, which required some extra-inning drama to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Marlins.

At this point, we kind of know what needs to happen for the Nats to have a realistic shot at winning: They need to hit. Or, more specifically, they need extra-base hits. Though they rank fourth in the National League with a .250 batting average and sixth with a .317 on-base percentage, they’re only ninth in runs scored with 158. Most of that is due to a lack of power; their .360 slugging percentage ranks 11th.

So that’s the challenge tonight against Brewers left-hander Eric Lauer, who enters with a 2.60 ERA and 0.981 WHIP but has allowed a hefty 1.8 homers per nine innings, including three in his last start (against the Marlins). Boy, this would be a good night for Nelson Cruz to get a hold of a pitch on the inner third of the plate, wouldn’t it?

Erick Fedde starts for the Nats, and it’s been some kind of wild ride for him of late. Fedde issued five walks May 8 in Anaheim, yet emerged without allowing a run. He issued three first-inning walks Saturday against the Astros but escaped the jam without any damage before giving up three runs later. Plain and simple, the right-hander needs to have an early feel for more than one of his pitches, keep the ball in the zone and keep his pitch count down against a Milwaukee lineup that’s 10th in the NL in batting average (.233) and on-base percentage (.311) but fourth in runs (179) because … they hit for power (.408 slugging percentage ranks fourth)!

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MILWAUKEE BREWERS
Where: American Family Field
Gametime: 8:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Indoors

NATIONALS
2B César Hernández
RF Juan Soto
DH Nelson Cruz
1B Josh Bell
3B Maikel Franco
LF Lane Thomas
C Riley Adams
CF Victor Robles
SS Alcides Escobar

RHP Erick Fedde

BREWERS
2B Kolton Wong
SS Luis Urías
LF Christian Yelich
1B Rowdy Tellez
DH Andrew McCutchen
RF Hunter Renfroe
C Omar Navráez
CF Tyrone Taylor
3B Jace Peterson

LHP Eric Lauer

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