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Washington Nationals vs. Milwaukee Brewers Series Preview: Who needs a series win more?

The Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers haven’t been playing at their best over the last few weeks.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (49-49) vs. Brewers (56-45) series info:

Game 1: Monday, July 23 at 8:10 p.m. EDT (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Tuesday, July 24 at 8:10 p.m. EDT (MASN2/106.7)

Game 3: Wednesday, July 25 at 2:10 p.m. EDT (MASN/106.7)

Pitching matchups:

Monday: Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.72) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (8-3, 3.68)

Tuesday: Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.29) vs. Junior Guerra (6-6, 3.23)

Wednesday: Tanner Roark (3-12, 4.87) vs. Freddy Peralta (4-1, 2.65)

What to watch for:

In Adams We Trust

Since being activated from the disabled list July 4, Matt Adams has made his presence known in the middle of the Nationals’ lineup. In 13 games, he’s hit .326 with three home runs, five walks and 10 strikeouts. Ryan Zimmerman made his return from the DL over the weekend but didn’t start in either of the Nationals’ games because of the presence of Adams. (Although he is starting the series opener to give Adams a day off.)

The Nats have scored 5.6 runs per game since Adams rejoined the lineup, which is up from the team’s season average of 4.4. Washington still hasn’t returned to its winning ways over that span (7-6 record) but the offense has finally begun to show some signs of life.

Taylor struggles with bench role

The Nationals have an influx of outfielders and Michael Taylor has been the odd man out, making just one start over the last two weeks. He’s gone just 1-12 over that span, entering most games in the ninth inning and only registering an at-bat or two.

Taylor’s struggles extend back to June 25. He’s hit just .171 since that date and has only stolen one base. He still leads the team in SBs (24) and highlight-reel catches (unconfirmed, but c’mon) but hasn’t been able to adjust to the lack of playing time.

Brewers stumble down NL Central standings

While the Nats have garnered most of the league’s attention for their uninspiring play, the Brewers have lost eight of nine and find themselves three and a half games back of the Chicago Cubs for the top spot in their division.

They did just see Ryan Braun (back) return from the DL and will get Junior Guerra (forearm) back on Tuesday, but the Cubs are hot and sport the best run differential in the NL. As much as this is a must-win series for the Nationals (all of them are at this point), the Brewers likely feel the same way.

Series history:

The Brewers lead the all-time series (2005-present) 46-43, including a mark of 28-17 at Miller Park in Milwaukee. This is the first time these two teams are playing each other this season.