Milwaukee Brewers manager Ken Macha knows there is a lot of time left in the season. For his team to be playing meaningful games at the end of it, however, it may have to go on a run over the next few weeks.
Looking to take advantage of a home-heavy portion of schedule, the Brewers try to win three straight for the first time this month when they host the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.Milwaukee (30-40), nine games back of NL Central-leading St. Louis and 10 off the pace in the wild-card race, defeated Minnesota 7-5 on Tuesday night. That began a stretch of 16 of 20 at home for the Brewers.To have a realistic chance of making the playoffs, Milwaukee may have to make up some ground during that period."As far as critical, when you're this far behind, I guess you can put a label like that, but I don't like (it)," Macha said. "There's still a lot of baseball to be played."The Brewers are looking for their first three-game winning streak since May 27-29. They last took a series versus the Twins from June 15-17, 2007, and have since dropped five sets against them.Milwaukee got off to a good start toward ending that drought Tuesday thanks to Casey McGehee's three-run homer, which tied the score in the fourth inning. Milwaukee hopes it's a sign of things to come from McGehee, who hit .177 with two home runs and six RBIs in his previous 20 games."It's always a work in progress," he said. "I feel a lot better at the plate."The Brewers beat the AL Central-leading Twins (40-30) for the fifth time in 17 meetings, overcoming another big game from Justin Morneau, who has routinely crushed Milwaukee pitching.The first baseman doubled and had a two-run single, and has batted .463 with seven doubles and 15 RBIs in his last 10 games against the Brewers.Francisco Liriano (6-4, 298 ERA) has also been tough on Milwaukee, posting a 2.00 ERA in winning his three career starts against them.Liriano had an up-and-down performance in a 5-1 loss to Colorado on Thursday. Squaring off against Ubaldo Jimenez, Liriano gave up three runs and four hits while hitting two batters in the first inning. He settled down and limited the Rockies to one hit without a run over the next six."Once he calmed down after that he threw the ball great," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.Milwaukee counters with Manny Parra (1-5, 3.91), who allowed two runs in six innings of a 2-0 defeat to Colorado on Friday.The left-hander has pitched well in three starts this month, posting a 3.63 ERA with 23 strikeouts over 17 1/3 innings, but received three total runs of support in going 0-2 in those games.Parra made two relief appearances versus the Twins earlier this year, yielding one run in 3 2/3 innings, a considerable improvement from his lone start against them in 2009. In one of the worst outings of his career, Parra was pounded for nine runs in 3 1/3 innings of an 11-3 loss at the Metrodome on May 22 of that year.