The NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers are deciding if any changes could pay off come October.
Jacob deGrom has the New York Mets feeling good about their future.
The Brewers seek a sixth win in seven tries Sunday in the finale of this four-game set against the Mets at Miller Park.
Milwaukee (59-46) has a three-game lead over St. Louis in the Central and is exploring options ahead of Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline in the hopes of improving its postseason chances.
"I've been pretty aggressive as far as contacting teams," general manager Doug Melvin told MLB's official website. "I've been doing it for over a week now. There's just not the so-called availability without asking for people we don't want to give up."
Pitching is a concern with the Brewers ranking ninth in the league with a 3.72 ERA, the highest mark of any NL team currently in a playoff spot.
However, there has been improvement in that area recently, with Milwaukee's pitchers compiling a 2.00 ERA during a 5-1 stretch. The Brewers have won two of three in this series, holding the Mets (49-55) to six runs and a .186 batting average.
Wily Peralta and four relievers combined to allow eight hits in Saturday's 5-2 win, a day after closer Francisco Rodriguez gave up three runs in the ninth in a 3-2 loss.
The Mets, though, could have the advantage on the mound in the finale, with deGrom (4-5, 3.01 ERA) set to oppose fellow rookie Jimmy Nelson (1-1, 5.06).
DeGrom is 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA over his last six starts, and he's won three straight behind a 0.86 ERA, striking out 26 with three walks in 21 innings. He leads all NL rookies with 79 strikeouts.
Manager Terry Collins feels deGrom isn't getting the appropriate credit, claiming he should be a frontrunner for NL Rookie of the Year.
"He's always flown under the radar. Still is," Collins said. "This guy has numbers to match up against any rookie in the league. And you never hear his name mentioned.
"I'm telling you this guy, he's going to figure it out and he's going to be a tough guy to deal with."
DeGrom certainly was for Seattle on Tuesday, allowing one run with seven strikeouts in seven innings of a 3-1 win. It was the fifth time in six games that the right-hander pitched into the seventh.
He didn't do that against Milwaukee on June 11, getting pulled with two outs in the sixth after allowing three runs and nine hits in a 3-1 loss.
DeGrom is also 7 for 25 at the plate, and Collins has been impressed enough to bat him eighth in three games.
While deGrom tries to continue his dominance, Nelson is getting a third start since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville.
The right-hander tied a franchise record by hitting three batters Tuesday and allowed three runs in six innings without a decision in a 4-3 win over Cincinnati.
That was a much better showing for Nelson, who surrendered eight runs - six earned - over 4 1-3 innings in a 10-2 loss to St. Louis in his previous outing July 12 - his first since joining the rotation after being recalled from the minors.
"It's an adjustment any time you are at a new level," Nelson told MLB's official website. "You have to take baby steps. I've been working on stuff between starts."
Nelson was sharp in his only start against the Mets, yielding one run and only a single to Daniel Murphy in five innings of a 4-2, 10-inning win at New York on Sept. 28.
The Associated Press News Service
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