Late injuries slow Brewers' amazing September surge

The Brewers arrive in D.C. not at 100 percent. They're already missing their best hitter, Christian Yelich, who is out for the season. Now outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun are hurting from their series in Denver against the Rockies.

But even with a sweep at the hands of the Rockies yesterday, the Brewers still finished September on an incredible run, going 20-7. On Sept. 5 they were 7 1/2 games in back of the Cardinals in the National League Central, but then came within one game of forcing a playoff for the division crown on Sunday.

Cain is listed as day-to-day with a sprained left ankle suffered on a slide at home plate on Saturday night.

''He actually walked in (Sunday) better than he walked out (Saturday night), which with a sprained ankle is somewhat encouraging, but he's sore,'' Brewers manager Craig Counsell told reporters. ''I think we're somewhat encouraged, but it's pretty early and he just started treatment, so don't really have definitive news as to what's happening.''

Braun was hurt in Friday's game with a left calf strain. The outfielder is expected to play Tuesday. Yelich is out with a fractured kneecap.

Right-hander Brandon Woodruff will start for the Brewers.

Woodruff has gone 11-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 22 starts. He is 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA in four postseason appearances. This will be his second postseason start.

nats-park-crowd.pngThe Brewers used six relievers Sunday and six relievers Saturday. They have played in back-to-back extra-inning games in Colorado.

The Brewers won the season series 4-2, but the Nats came very close to sweeping Milwaukee at Nats Park. Only a stunning, marathon, 15-14 loss on Aug. 17 prevented it. Josh Hader struck out the side after loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth. Yelich and Eric Thames hit go-ahead home runs in extra innings. The Nats won the other two games at Nats Park that series: 2-1 and 16-8.

In early May, the Nats were swept at Miller Park: 5-3, 6-0 and 7-3. Woodruff won that final game by allowing D.C. only one run on four hits over six innings.

The Nats lineup for that series in May in Milwaukee did not have Trea Turner or Anthony Rendon available for the first game. Dan Jennings blew the save in the first game and allowed two more runs in the 6-0 loss in the second game. Jeremy Hellickson surrendered six runs (three earned) in the series finale. Washington was 14-22 after that loss. The Nats went 79-47 (.627) the rest of the way.

Mike Moustakas leads the power offense for the Brewers with 35 home runs. Yasmani Grandal has 28, Thames 25 and Braun 22.

Hader sits at the top of the Brewers bullpen with 37 saves, while Brent Suter has a 4-0 record with a 0.49 ERA. Trade deadline acquisitions of Jordan Lyles, Ray Black and Drew Pomeranz have boosted the pitching staff.

Pomeranz went on a run in September in which he kept opponents off the scoreboard in 11 of 12 appearances and had a 1.64 ERA. Lyles (12-8) allowed two earned runs on three hits and two walks while striking out six over five innings against the Reds in a win last Wednesday. Black has thrown scoreless outings in 11 of his last 13 appearances.

The Brewers also have former Nats Gio Gonzalez and Matt Albers on their pitching staff.

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