Slumping Bad

After being swept for the first time this season, the Brewers will try to avoid their season-high fourth consecutive loss as they open a three-game series against the Florida Marlins.

The Brewers (16-15) opened their second nine-game road trip of the season last Tuesday by taking two of three from the Chicago Cubs. But they followed that by losing three straight to fellow NL Central rival Houston.

Oddsmakers from have made Florida -120 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 50% of bets for this game have been placed on Milwaukee +110 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.

Milwaukee appeared poised to take the series finale on Sunday, but its shaky bullpen squandered the opportunity en route to an 8-6, 12-inning loss. Closer Eric Gagne allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth to blow his fifth save before Mitch Stetter served up a two-run homer to Hunter Pence in the 12th.

"We played a very good ballgame," Gagne said."I came in and messed it up."

Milwaukee hasn't dropped four in a row since a five-game slide from Aug. 22-28 - all on the road.

To avoid matching that, the Brewers need better pitching. While they've gone 3-7 in the last 10 games, Milwaukee's staff has posted a 5.52 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .304 with 16 homers.

Jeff Suppan (1-1, 5.19 ERA) has been a major contributor to those poor numbers, and he'll try to rebound from one of the worst outings of his career. The right-hander was tagged for a career-high 11 runs and 11 hits in only 3 2-3 innings of a 19-5 loss at Chicago on Wednesday.

"They were on the attack, and I kept missing down the middle," said Suppan, who had posted a 1.98 ERA in his previous two starts. "It's my job to keep us in the game, and I didn't do that from the get-go."

Suppan is 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in his last four starts at Florida (17-14).

The Brewers also hope to get better efforts at the plate. They had 13 hits Sunday - one more than their total from the previous two games - giving them a .223 series batting average against the Astros. This season, Milwaukee ranks towards the bottom of the NL, hitting just .246.

Milwaukee's bats weren't very effective against the Marlins last month. The Brewers batted .184 and scored six runs while dropping two of three from April 25-27.

One of those defeats came against Scott Olsen (3-1, 2.70), Florida's scheduled starter on Tuesday. Olsen didn't factor in the Marlins' 3-0 10-inning victory on April 25, but was outstanding in allowing only four hits in 7 1-3 innings.

The left-hander failed to build off that performance, giving up four runs and seven hits in five innings of a 13-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday in his shortest outing of the season.

"The last start, my tempo was a bit rushed," Olsen told the Marlins' official Web site. "I'm going to try to go out Tuesday and make some adjustments."

Olsen is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in four career starts against the Brewers.

The Marlins would also like to give Olsen a little more help this time, after producing only five runs of support in his last four outings.

The offense generated a season high-tying 16 hits Sunday in a 10-3 win over San Diego as the Marlins batted .311 and took two of three from the Padres. That came after Florida was held to a .196 average by the Dodgers en route to being swept for the first time in 2008.

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