The Milwaukee Brewers have had trouble scoring with the reigning NL MVP in the lineup. Now, they may have to try and produce without him.
The San Francisco Giants have a hole in their lineup to fill as well.Ryan Braun's status is uncertain as Milwaukee looks to avoid a third straight shutout when former Cy Young winners Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum match up in the opener of a three-game set Friday night in San Francisco.Milwaukee (11-14) dropped the last two games of its three-game series with San Diego, falling 2-0 on Tuesday and 5-0 on Wednesday, and Braun left the finale with a right Achilles injury he suffered sliding into second base.The only time in franchise history the Brewers have been shut out in three straight games was May 3-6, 1972, and it's unclear if Braun will be in the lineup Friday as they look to prevent that from happening again."It's just a little sore," Braun said. "We'll see how it feels."San Francisco is dealing with a much more serious injury to its most productive hitter.Pablo Sandoval, who is hitting .316 with five homers and 15 RBIs, will miss four to six weeks with a broken bone in his left hand that will require surgery.Manager Bruce Bochy said the Giants are going to miss Sandoval while he recovers."You just don't replace a bat like Pablo," Bochy said. "There are very few guys in major league baseball who can do some things he can do with the bat. We'll have to move forward and try to maintain where we're at, and hopefully better, until he gets back. We've just got to keep them believing."San Francisco's offense struggled again Thursday, falling 3-2 as Miami completed a three-game sweep."Today it wasn't Pablo. We made some mistakes," Bochy said. "We're hurting ourselves more than anything. We can't get a productive out."Lincecum (2-2, 5.74 ERA) will look to help get the Giants (12-13) back on track.The right-hander went 0-2 with a 10.54 ERA over his first three starts, but he's been pitching much better of late. He's won his last two outings with a 0.69 ERA, allowing one unearned run and three hits in eight innings of a 2-1 win over San Diego on Saturday, though he walked four.Lincecum is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his last three starts versus the Brewers, but he's 0-2 with a 5.85 ERA in four home starts against them.He'll be opposed by Greinke (3-1, 3.94), who will be making his first start against the Giants.Greinke allowed one run in six innings of a 3-2 victory over St. Louis on Sunday, though he walked four and struck out only two. The right-hander said he wasn't very happy with how he pitched."I don't think he ever is," catcher Jonathan Lucroy told the team's official website. "Guys that are that good, I don't think they're ever content. That's the way you want him to be."Lucroy is looking forward to the matchup between Greinke and Lincecum."I get excited every time I go out there and catch Zack Greinke," Lucroy said. "It's going to be a good battle, and that's the best thing you can hope for in a major league baseball game."The Giants have won three of the last four meetings in San Francisco.