Nationals hurler Jordan Zimmermann, a native of Auburndale, Wis., returns to his home state Tuesday night hoping to stay hot in what has been an incredible June. He will face the red-hot Brewers, whose 47 victories are the most in the National League.
The right-hander has pitched seven innings or more in four quality starts this month, posting a 0.84 ERA and 9-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. But there has been one problem for Zimmermann in June: run support.
Washington tallied 13 runs in the 28-year-old's first two wins this month but has gone silent in his two consecutive hard-luck losses, as his three runs allowed in 15 innings proved to be too much for the Nats' bats to match.
The seven hits Zimmermann allowed his last time out were the most he's given up this month, but most of them, he felt, were not hit all that hard.
"I threw some pretty good pitches," Zimmermann said. "They had some hits, but there was one hard hit ball. The rest of them were off the end of the bat. That's the way baseball is sometimes. I made some good pitches, a couple of bloopers. A three-hopper up the middle and then they get the bases loaded. I was happy to get out of it with two runs. I had some good innings after that."
Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo has experienced a jubilant June of his own, if you exclude his six runs over five innings against Minnesota on June 3. It marked only the third time this season he has failed to pitch at least six frames.
Gallardo's last three starts, however, have been more like the right-hander who boasts a respectable 3.34 ERA in 15 starts. He tossed seven or more frames in each outing, compiling a 0.86 ERA and walking only three batters.
Following his most recent start on Thursday, which ran his career record against Arizona to 8-0, Gallardo didn't have an exact explanation for the recent success.
"Sometimes you look at it, that's just how this game is," Gallardo said Monday. "There's certain things like that I wish I could explain, but I can't. Going into today, the previous two starts, I've been feeling good. I've been throwing the ball pretty well, and [I'm] just keeping the ball down and locating it. It all starts with that."
Brewers: Roenicke not worried about home record
The Brewers recently concluded a stretch during which they played 15 of 18 games on the road, walking away with a 12-6 record. They ended their most recent trip with a 6-1 record, improving their road record to the best in baseball at 27-15.
Although first-place Milwaukee is only 20-16 at Miller Park, manager Ron Roenicke does not put much stock into record splits between home and the road, and he didn't budge from that stance when asked about it Monday.
"I don't care if it's home or road. I don't think about it," Roenicke said. "Everybody wants to know about why. I don't have an answer for it. Last year, the year before that, year before that, we were better at home, which almost every team is. We're still winning at home, so I don't think much about it."
Nationals: Ramos ready to return from rehab
Catcher Wilson Ramos said his right leg is "ready to go in the big leagues again." Ramos is on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain.
He finished 3-for-4 with a homer, a double and a single for Class A Advanced Potomac on Monday night. Ramos is batting .389 (7-for-18) with three home runs, 10 RBIs, a .421 on-base percentage in five Minor League rehab games, and is hitting .261 with one homer and 11 RBIs in 24 big league games.
• ESPN analyst Tim Kurkjian participated in the sausage mascot race at Miller Park on Monday night and placed last among the five competitors.
• Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper singled and played three innings in a rehab assignment for Potomac on Monday night. It was his first game action since suffering a ligament tear in his left thumb nearly two months ago.
• Matt Williams was ejected for the first time as Washington's manager when he was tossed in the second inning on Monday night for arguing balls and strikes.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.