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Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs: Probable Pitchers (April 9 Through April 12, 2012): Cub Fan’s Preview
The Chicago Cubs will host their first series against a NL Central opponent when they play the Milwaukee Brewers from April 9 through April 12. The Brewers are 1-2 after their three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals. Likewise, the Cubs are 1-2 after their three-game series with the Washington Nationals.
The Cubs and Brewers are both scheduled to have their ace pitchers in the final two games of this series. The Cubs will also witness the debuts of Chris Volstad and Paul Maholm. This will also be the first time that Aramis Ramirez has returned to Wrigley Field since he signed with the Brewers this offseason.
All times are central time zone. The probable pitchers are updated as of April 9 on Cubs.mlb.com. The Cubs are represented by the pitchers in italics.
April 9, 6:05 p.m.: Chris Volstad vs. Shawn Marcum
Chris Volstad will make his Wrigley Field debut when he pitches against Shawn Marcum. The Cubs acquired Volstad when they traded Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins this past offseason. The hope is that Volstad's groundball style will help him in the Windy City.
Volstad has had success against some of the Brewers' top hitters. Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks have all hit .200 or worse in at least 10 at-bats against Volstad in the past five seasons. Aramis Ramirez could be a problem since he has a .500 average with one homer and three RBI in 12 at-bats.
April 10, 7:05 p.m.: Paul Maholm vs. Chris Narveson
The Cubs will have back-to-back debuts from starting pitchers when Paul Maholm faces Chris Narveson in the second of a four-game series. The Cubs acquired Maholm through free agency as they coveted a left-handed pitcher for their starting rotation. The Cubs haven't had an effective left-handed starter since Ted Lilly was traded before the trading deadline in 2010.
Maholm is another groundball pitcher who pitched well during Cactus League play. However, he might struggle in his debut. Carlos Gomez, Braun and Hart have all combined for five homers and 19 RBI in 89 at-bats against Maholm. Individually, they're all hitting .318 or better. Ramirez also has two homers and nine RBI in 38 at-bats.
Ryan Dempster is coming off a no-decision after he allowed one run through 7.2 innings against the Nationals during Opening Day on April 5. The Cubs had a 1-0 lead before Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol surrendered the two go-ahead runs in a 2-1 loss.
Hart and Braun have both hit below .240 in the past five seasons against Dempster. However, Alex Gonzalez and Gomez have combined to go 5-of-13 with an RBI. Dempster could find himself in a couple jams if he doesn't contain Weeks, who has a .273 average in 33 at-bats in the past five seasons.
Matt Garza received a no-decision in his last start after he surrendered two runs in six innings against the Nationals on April 7. Once again, Wood and Marmol couldn't retain the lead as they surrendered five runs in the eighth inning of a 7-4 loss.
Garza has a career record of 2-1 with a 4.35 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched against Milwaukee. Nyjer Morgan has a .444 batting average in nine plate appearances while Braun has a .333 batting average with a homer and three RBI in nine at-bats.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid-90s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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