Milwaukee (46-43) at Chicago (49-41)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 54° F
  • Game info: 2:20 pm EDT Sun Jul 18, 2004
  • TV: WGN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Chicago manager Dusty Baker can’t stress enough how important Aramis Ramirez is to the Cubs.

Baker will get his third baseman back in the lineup when the Cubs conclude a four-game series with the visiting Milwaukee Brewers.

Despite missing the last 11 games with a sore groin, Ramirez still leads the Cubs with 56 RBIs and is batting a team-high .326 with 60 runs scored. The Cubs are 5-6 without Ramirez, scoring just 30 runs.

“Right now, I’m planning on having him play (Sunday),” Baker said of Ramirez. “We haven’t been the same since he’s been out. He’s our RBI, run-producer. He sets the middle of the lineup there. He’s a big man on the team.”

The Cubs’ other big men played a big role in Saturday’s 5-0 victory.

Sammy Sosa hit his 556th career home run and Moises Alou added his 20th of the season in support of Greg Maddux, who tossed a six-hitter for his 297th career win.

Chicago desperately needed the win considering it is still well behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central race. The Cubs and Cardinals open the final series of the season between the two on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

“You just keep trying to win series, win games,” Baker said. “Everybody’s watching what’s going on.”

Kerry Wood will start Sunday in his second outing since coming back from triceps tendinitis, which sidelined him for two months.

The Brewers have dropped five of seven.

Milwaukee also hopes to have its third baseman back in the lineup. Wes Helms, sidelined the last two games by a stomach illness, is 4-for-9 lifetime against Wood. No other Brewer has a career average higher than .250 against the hard-throwing right-hander.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Capuano NYY vs. K. Wood ChC
6-8 Record 8-9
4.99 ERA 3.72
80 K 144
37 BB 51
1.45 WHIP 1.27