Jordan Zimmermann was named to his first All-Star Game last month and entered the break with a 12-4 record, one of the best in the National League, but he has allowed 12 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings since, though he did strike out eight Mets on Friday. The right-hander will look to regain his first-half form on Friday in his second career start in his home state of Wisconsin.
Zimmermann, who grew up Auburndale and starred at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, decided to sit out the All-Star Game because of lingering stiffness in his neck. He is 3-0 all-time against the Brewers and won his only other start in Wisconsin (July 28, 2012).
The Nationals need a bounce-back performance after being crushed by the Tigers, 11-1, on Wednesday afternoon. They have lost 14 of their last 20 games and were outscored 16-2 in their two-game series in Detroit. While the rest of the National League East hasn't fared much better, Washington's postseason chances are slowly slipping away.
First baseman Adam LaRoche called August a "do-or-die" month for the team.
"We're in a pretty deep hole," LaRoche said on Sunday. "I'm not saying it's over, but we've got a lot of work to do."
On Friday, the Nationals will face an old teammate in Brewers left-hander Tom Gorzelanny. Gorzelanny was non-tendered by Washington in the offseason and signed a two-year, $5.7 million contract with the Brewers, who are coming off a 6-1 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday.
Gorzelanny has been used in a variety of roles this season, making 37 appearances, including five starts, with a 2.83 ERA.
"They knew I could do everything. I've been in late games, I started a game and played in the middle of the game. I've been all over the place," Gorzelanny said when the team played in Washington last month. "I pitch whenever they call on me."
Brewers: Gallardo lands on the disabled list
Yovani Gallardo was rumored to be a potential trade chip. But as the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed on Wednesday, the right-hander was instead headed to the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.
Gallardo had dealt with discomfort in the hamstring since before the All-Star break and tweaked the muscle in the fifth inning of Game 1 of the Brewers' doubleheader against the Cubs on Tuesday.
"Even during the All-Star break, I got treatment on it," Gallardo said. "But it was fine. It felt good, and then for some reason when I dove for that ball [it begin to tighten]."
Nationals: Ohlendorf leaves early
Long reliever Ross Ohlendorf entered Wednesday's game in the fourth inning, but he threw only 11 pitches before leaving with an undisclosed injury. Ohlendorf's fastball, which earlier this season was topping out at 97 mph, hit only 86 mph. He recorded one out before being replace by Craig Stammen.
• Pitching coach Steve McCatty is expected to be released from an area hospital on Wednesday and rejoin the Nationals on Monday. McCatty was taken to the hospital on Sunday morning because he had an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure before the team's game against the Mets.
• Only two pitchers in Nationals history have allowed 10 runs in a game: Jason Simontacchi on June 19, 2007, and Gio Gonzalez against the Tigers on Wednesday.
• The Brewers won two games against the Cubs on Tuesday, marking their first doubleheader sweep since Sept. 29, 2010, against the Mets.
• The three games against the Nationals at Miller Park this weekend are the Brewers' only three home games in a span of 19 games.