Hoping to extend his streak of 17 straight seasons with at least 15 wins, Maddux takes the ball for the finale of a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
At 12-13, Maddux is still a long shot to make it 18 years in a row with at least 15 victories, but manager Dusty Baker shuffled his rotation to make sure the future Hall of Famer would at least have a chance.
Maddux will get three more starts as he tries to continue a streak he began in 1988 during his original stint with the Cubs. The 39-year-old right-hander is also trying to avert his first losing season since 1987, when he finished 6-14.
“I don’t care if we’re out of it or not, if I’ve got a chance to pitch, I want to,” Maddux said, adding that the 15-victory plateau is not that big a deal.
“It’s always been about trying to find out how good you are. Every fifth day, you try to find out, ‘How good can I be today?’ If I get to do that an extra time this year, I’m more than happy to do it.”
The Brewers will be shooting for a sweep after taking the first two games from Chicago, including Wednesday’s 7-6 victory.
Jeff Cirillo, who had three hits in his previous 19 pinch-hit at bats, singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as Milwaukee won its second straight to start a 10-game homestand.
The Brewers also climbed within one game of .500 as they try to complete their first winning season since 1992.
“We fought back and found out a way to pull it out in the end,” Milwaukee’s Bill Hall said. “A win is a win, especially right now this late in the season with the goal we’re trying to get to.”