Detwiler, 5-3 with a 3.01 ERA, hasn't lost since May 19 -- a span of time that includes his return to the Nationals' rotation once Chien-Ming Wang was sent to the bullpen in mid-June. In each of his last two starts, Detwiler pitched a season-high seven innings, and against the Braves on Sunday, the 26-year-old lefty allowed just two runs (one earned) on seven hits. In his previous start against the Mets, Detwiler threw seven scoreless innings while allowing only five hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
"I think he's settling in, knows who he is," manager Davey Johnson said. "Kind of like some of these other young players -- kind of like [Ian] Desmond, [Danny] Espinosa. They're all realizing what they are and what they need to be to be successful at this level."
Detwiler's only prior outing against the Brewers came on July 25, 2010, in an 8-3 loss. He was charged with the loss after lasting only 3 2/3 innings and allowing five runs -- all unearned -- on three hits and three walks.
The Brewers, meanwhile, have seen their fortunes sour as their deficit in the National League Central has fallen to 14 games. Between their ace, Zack Greinke, plus Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez, the Brewers have found themselves at the heart of Trade Deadline talk instead of a division race.
General manager Doug Melvin said on Thursday that the Brewers are seriously weighing offers for Greinke.
"You have to go about your business and realize that none of this is personal," manager Ron Roenicke. "It's just a decision that we're trying to make this club the best club we possibly can with what we have, not just now, but in the future. And so those decisions are out of [the players'] hands. They play as well as they can, and then they see what happens when they're a free agent when they have time to go pick and choose where they want to go."
Nationals: Rizzo could target depth at Trade Deadline
Early Trade Deadline talk suggested the possibility of the Nationals trading for a starting pitcher to replace Stephen Strasburg after the ace reaches his innings limit, but the organization has remained hesitant to surrender a hefty sum to strengthen what is already one of the NL's best pitching staffs.
Instead, general manager Mike Rizzo could target a middle infielder to shore up the depth diminished by the injury to Desmond, or possibly a veteran catcher to alleviate some of the physical toll Jesus Flores has taken behind the plate.
Brewers: Lucroy 1-for-3 in return from DL
After spending almost two months on the disabled list, Jonathan Lucroy rejoined the Brewers' lineup in the series opener with the Nationals on Thursday night. The Brewers' catcher went 1-for-3 in his first game since May 27, providing further power to an offense that has been able to produce runs, but not enough to support a struggling bullpen that entered the series with the Nats ranked 28th in the Major Leagues with a 4.76 ERA.
Mike Fiers, who's 0-for-2 in three July starts despite posting a 1.33 ERA during that span, will head to the mound for the Brewers. The 27-year-old right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) over six innings in his last outing.
With their series-opening win over the Brewers on Thursday night, the Nationals matched their longest win streak of the season at six games and moved to 20 games over .500 at 59-39.