Milwaukee (58-75) at Chicago (68-64)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 3:20 pm EDT Fri Aug 29, 2003
  • TV: WGN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Chicago Cubs may be in a division race, but don’t tell that to the Milwaukee Brewers, who are playing like they ought to be.

The Cubs, who have dropped seven of 11, open a weekend series against the Brewers, winners of 10 straight, at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs come in after dropping two of three in St. Louis, including a 3-2 defeat on Thursday.

Sammy Sosa hit his 31st homer of the season, and 530th of his career for the Cubs, who are 1 1/2 games behind Houston and St. Louis in the race for the top spot in the NL Central.

The Brewers are tied with Cincinnati for last place in the division after a 4-3, 10-inning road victory over the Reds on Thursday. Milwaukee is riding its longest win streak since joining the NL in 1998. The last time the Brewers won more than 10 in a row was during their club-record 13-game run in 1987.

Though the Brewers are on an incredible roll, they may have to go the rest of the way without Geoff Jenkins. The veteran outfielder could miss the rest of the season after breaking his left thumb on Reds catcher Jason LaRue’s shinguard during a seventh-inning play at the plate on Thursday.

Jenkins planned to travel with the team to Chicago, and then to Milwaukee for further examination.

Still to be decided was whether to place the thumb in a splint or surgically insert a pin, Jenkins said.

“It’s frustrating to me,” said Jenkins, who missed the second half of last season with a dislocated right ankle.

Jenkins was hitting .475 (19-for-40) with six home runs and 18 RBIs during the winning streak.

Ben Sheets, who starts for Milwaukee on Friday, is 6-0 with a 2.85 ERA in eight career starts against the Cubs. He is 1-0 with a 3.32 ERA in three starts against Chicago this season.

STANDINGS: Brewers - 5th place (tied), 12 GB, NL Central. Cubs - 3rd place, 1 1/2 GB, NL Central.

BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Sheets (10-10, 4.28 ERA). Sheets hasn’t won since beating the New York Mets on July 29. The right-hander is 0-3 in his last five starts, allowing at least four runs three times. Though he has pitched poorly, the Brewers have won his last two starts, including a 10-9 home victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday. Sheets gave up four runs, four walks and eight hits over 5 2-3 innings.

CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Matt Clement (11-11, 4.22 ERA). Clement is 4-2 over his last six starts, allowing two runs or fewer four times. The right-hander won 5-3 at Arizona on Sunday, giving up two runs and five hits while striking out nine over seven innings. Clement is 3-3 all-time against Milwaukee with a 5.51 ERA in eight starts. In one start this season against the Brewers, he is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Brewers - Scott Podsednik .315 avg. and 31 SBs; Richie Sexson, 35 HRs and 96 RBIs; Jenkins, 81 runs. Cubs - Mark Grudzielanek, .305 avg.; Sammy Sosa, 30 HRs; Aramis Ramirez, 85 RBIs; Kenny Lofton, 77 runs and 27 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Cubs, 6-4.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Brewers - CF Podsednik has a career-high 13-game hitting streak. … 1B Sexson was 0-for-12 in the series before hitting a single on Thursday. Cubs - The Cubs are batting .192 against RHP Sheets this season. … Cubs pitchers have struck out 10 or more in 44 games this season.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Brewers - 31-36 on the road; Cubs - 32-32 at home.

INJURIES: Brewers - RHP Jayson Durocher (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Matt Ford (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Nick Neugebauer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Ruben Quevedo (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Todd Ritchie (shoulder), 60-day DL. Cubs - 2B Grudzielanek (hand), 15-day DL; CF Corey Patterson (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Sheets Atl vs. M. Clement Tor
11-13 Record 14-12
4.45 ERA 4.11
157 K 171
43 BB 79
1.25 WHIP 1.23