Matt Garza is still searching for a dominant outing after laboring through a string of unremarkable performances for the Brewers. The right-hander entered the week with a 1-2 record and 5.93 ERA in his last five outings, despite two of those being quality starts. The season as a whole has not been much kinder, either, with his 4.92 ERA ranking 10th-worst among the 103 pitchers who have logged 50 innings or more.
Luckily for Garza, he'll get the chance to face one of his best historical matchups on Tuesday night.
In 12 career starts against the Orioles, Garza is 9-1 with a 3.03 ERA, with nine being the most wins he has against any single team. Entering Monday, Baltimore's offense is hitting .239 lifetime against him with two home runs, both by Adam Jones, in 92 at-bats.
But as Garza has gone this month, so have the Brewers. After starting the season 20-8, the club has gone 10-14 in May. The offense has slowed down in particular, producing five or more runs just four times in the last 13 games -- numbers no doubt influenced by injuries that landed Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez on the disabled list.
"It hurts, but we've just got to keep going," Garza said. "We've just got to keep fighting and grinding this month. We've got some guys banged up and some guys nursing some things, so we've just got to keep going and keep finding a way."
Braun has since returned to the lineup, but Milwaukee is still tasked with a solid challenge in O's starter Wei-Yin Chen (5-2, 4.08).
Four of Chen's last five outings have been quality starts, with the left-hander issuing just five walks against 17 strikeouts in those games. He was roughed up at home by the Indians last time out, allowing five runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, but two of those runs came after a grounder got under Ryan Flaherty's glove in the 7th inning.
"I thought he deserved a lot better fate," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Chen. "He was pretty sharp. I thought his breaking ball was sharper."
However, Chen has also had issues pitching with runners in scoring position this season -- he owns a 9.39 ERA in those situations -- as opposed to working with an empty set of bases (1.29 ERA).
Tuesday will mark Chen's first career start against the Brewers.
Brewers: Club relies on surging staff
Despite Garza's struggles and the club's inconsistency on offense, the Brewers still came into the series with Baltimore leading the National League Central by 1 1/2 games. Much of the team's success can be credited to the rest of its pitching staff.
Starters Wily Peralta and Kyle Lohse each own a sub-3.00 ERA -- 2.12 and 2.92, respectively -- while closer Francisco Rodriguez, despite a blown save on Monday, has converted 17 saves in 19 chances while throwing 30 strikeouts to five walks. Entering Monday, the Brewers staff claimed the sixth-best WHIP in the Majors (1.21) and the seventh-best ERA (3.29).
"You see a team that's leading their division like they are, one of the better teams in the National League, that [pitching] is not all of it but it's certainly a big part there," Showalter said. "They are a challenge from the pitching standpoint first and foremost."
Orioles: Davis to return Tuesday
First baseman Chris Davis became a first-time father over the weekend. The left-handed slugger's wife, Jill, gave birth to a girl on Sunday evening in Baltimore, and it was a healthy delivery by all accounts.
Davis had been placed on the team's paternity list that same day and missed games on Sunday and Monday because of the expected delivery. However, Showalter expects the power hitter to rejoin the team in Milwaukee on Tuesday.
"I promised [Davis] before we left, I said, 'Listen, don't feel like you have to text me and do this and do that. I'll leave you alone. If i don't hear from you I'll see you Tuesday in Milwaukee,'" he said. Then on the plane [after Sunday's game] I texted him, I said, "I lied. I'm dying to know how everything went.'"
• The O's have traditionally gotten the best of the Brewers. They lead the series 229-164 all-time, including a 114-87 record when on the road.
• With Matt Wieters on the disabled list, Baltimore acquired catcher Nick Hundley via trade on Saturday. Hundley, who has spent his entire Major-League career with the Padres, made his first start with the O's on Monday, going 1-for-5 and driving in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning with a single.
• The Brewers are 6-1 in Interleague play this season and 8-4 when facing left-handed starting pitchers.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.