With the Nationals sitting just two games above .500, manager Davey Johnson knows that the team's record isn't where anyone thought it would be, but he's optimistic about the surge Washington can make in the standings during the second half of the season.
"I always look at things as they happened for the best," Johnson said. "As hard as it was for us to go through those times where we scored no runs or one or two runs, I think that can build character. Going into the second half, everyone feels that we've got a lot of picking up to do. I feel good about that. And we're getting healthy."
One pitcher the Nationals will lean on throughout the second half is right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who takes the hill in Tuesday's contest against the Brewers at Nationals Park.
Strasburg allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings for a no-decision in his most recent outing, against the D-backs. It was the first time since May 4, a span of seven starts, that he gave up multiple earned runs.
Right-hander Wily Peralta gets the nod for the Brewers, ready to pitch his team out of its six-game losing streak.
"As bad as we are playing, I'm glad these guys are still trying to get after it, going out and playing hard every day," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We've got a lot of guys banged up who won't come out of the lineup. They need to [rest], and they're still wanting to play every day."
Burned by a pair of third-inning errors, Peralta allowed seven runs (three earned) on eight hits in five innings for his fifth loss of the season his last time out, against the Cubs.
"When we get an error, I've got to be able to pick up my teammate and execute a pitch," Peralta said after the game.
In one career start against the Nationals, last season, Peralta allowed three runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings for a loss.
Brewers: Rotation shuffled
Milwaukee shuffled its rotation in light of Sunday's rainy, marathon loss to the Pirates, bumping prospect Johnny Hellweg to temporary relief duty and re-inserting Kyle Lohse in Hellweg's place.
Lohse will now start against the Nationals on Wednesday, three days after his Sunday start in Pittsburgh was cut short by rain after 1 2/3 innings.
Thursday's starter has yet to be determined, with Roenicke saying it would either be Hellweg or the previously scheduled Donovan Hand.
"There's still an innings thing that we need to worry about with Hellweg, and who we match up against comes into play sometimes," Roenicke said. "[The Nationals] have some pretty good left-handers in this lineup. So some of that definitely comes into the conversation."
Nationals: Detwiler, Ramos making progress
Hurler Ross Detwiler and catcher Wilson Ramos both took steps forward in their respective rehab processes on Monday.
Johnson said that Detwiler "threw the ball well" during a bullpen session before Monday night's game at Nationals Park and remains on track to start on Wednesday against the Brewers.
Ramos caught seven innings in a rehab appearance for Class A Advanced Potomac on Monday night, and if no problems surface, the next step would be for him to catch nine. He also could appear in a game at designated hitter in order to get extra at-bats.
Ramos is scheduled to return on Saturday, but he could make it back as soon as Thursday.
• Nationals right-hander Dan Haren is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Wednesday as he makes his way back from the disabled list.
• Roenicke said that shortstop Jean Segura, who has started all but three of the team's games this season, would get a break on Tuesday or Wednesday, as Segura has been fighting a minor injury to his thumb.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.