The Brewers will look to extend their winning streak against the Dodgers' Zack Greinke to three games when the two first-place clubs open a weekend series at Dodger Stadium on Friday.
Greinke is winless in seven starts when facing his former teams, and he kept that record intact when he lost to the Brewers last Saturday at Miller Park.
Milwaukee took two of three in the series to help preserve its grip on first place in the National League Central, and while the Brew Crew will face Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in the series' first two games, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was optimistic about his team's outlook for the weekend.
"We know, especially with the next two guys, when they pitch and they're on their game, we know how tough it is to score runs," Roenicke said. "But we also know that our pitchers are throwing the ball well, so we feel like, with matchups and maybe a couple big plays here and there, and that's the difference between the games."
The Brewers will counter Greinke with Jimmy Nelson, who will be making his sixth start since entering the rotation right before the All-Star break. Last Sunday against the Dodgers, Nelson earned a fourth straight quality start despite struggling with command, giving up only two runs over six innings and working out of several jams.
This is the first time in Nelson's young career that he's faced the same team twice in a row, and while he said he's glad to have recent video of himself throwing to Los Angeles' lineup, he said he's more concerned with getting into a routine.
"More so, sometimes when pitchers watch video, it's also to see our mechanical cues and fix anything mechanical that we're doing wrong," Nelson said. "I try not to overload it with information and scouting reports, because when it comes down to it, you've got to execute your pitches to do that more advanced stuff."
Nelson said he's identified the mechanical issues that hampered him against the Dodgers as he worked into and out of several jams.
"It's definitely mechanical. It's that, and it's mental," Nelson said. "It's not trying to do too much and just trusting my stuff, trying to get ground balls."
Brewers: Regulars set for return to lineup
After getting the day off on Thursday against Cubs righty Edwin Jackson, Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Jean Segura are expected to play against the Dodgers on Friday.
"Aramis needs the day off. Brauny needs the day off, too," Roenicke said before Thursday's game. "And then Seggy's been going out pretty good. He's been battling to get through these games and trying to stay mentally into them all the time."
Braun has been bothered by a nerve issue in his right hand since last season, and the injury has flared up recently. Braun said he's mulling his options on how to treat it.
"At this point, my only focus is dealing with it the best we can, managing it," Braun said. "The trainers have been great. We're trying to stay on the field and compete the best I can."
Dodgers: Injured Hanley throws, but not swinging yet
Hanley Ramirez has resumed physical activity after a strained right oblique muscle landed him on the disabled list on Sunday, retroactive to Saturday. However, the Dodgers' shortstop is not yet swinging a bat.
"He did a little throwing [Wednesday], just a little bit of movement," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "This is Day 5, I think, and [trainer] Stan [Conte] hasn't said anything about him swinging the bat or anything yet. Just trying to make sure he's throwing, doing some stuff like that to stay active."
Ramirez is batting .277 with 12 homers and 58 RBIs in 100 games this season.
• The Brewers have had at least a share of first place since April 5.
• With his next save, Francisco Rodriguez will tie Rollie Fingers at No. 11 on the all-time saves list with 341.