The Cubs will look to stay hot offensively on Sunday as they try to solve Capuano and complete a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Chicago (3-2) scored a total of seven runs while losing two of three at Cincinnati earlier this week, but has broken out for 15 runs and 25 hits in two games against the Brewers. The Cubs have 12 extra-base hits in this series after totaling five in their first three games.
Derrek Lee went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run homer, his first of the season, in Chicago’s 6-3 win over Milwaukee on Saturday. The duo is 8-for-18 with four runs and four RBIs in the series.
The Cubs have not swept a series at Miller Park since doing it twice in 2003.
“Right now, we’ve got speed, power,” Ramirez said. “We’ve got the whole package.”
Though the Cubs are swinging the bats well, they’ve struggled against Capuano.
In 2006, the left-hander faced Chicago three times and won every outing as he did not allow a run in 26 innings, striking out 16 and walking two. He is 7-2 with a 3.75 ERA in 10 career starts against the Cubs, including wins in the last five.
Capuano, though, will look for a better effort than his first of 2007. He allowed three runs in five innings with six strikeouts and two walks, but did not factor in the decision in the Brewers’ 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
“If I can keep the bad outings to a minimum, I’ll be happy this year,” Capuano told the team’s official Web site.
While the Cubs didn’t have much success against Capuano in 2006, Lee and Ramirez each had three hits off him last season and have hit him well during their careers. Lee is 9-for-24 (.375) with two homers and eight RBIs while Ramirez has gone 9-for-30 (.300) with a homer and four RBIs.
Chicago also has received solid starting pitching in the first two games of the series, and hopes its No. 5 starter can come through Sunday.
Miller was 0-2 with a 4.57 ERA in five starts last season, his first since undergoing arthroscopic surgery after the 2005 season. A solid spring earned Miller the fifth spot in the rotation ahead of former All-Star Mark Prior, who was optioned to Triple-A Iowa as he continues to recover from shoulder problems.
“(Miller) pitched well in camp. He’s earned a spot,” Chicago manager Lou Piniella said.
The right-hander is 11-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 15 games against Milwaukee during his career, but has not faced the Brewers since 2004 when he was with Houston.
Milwaukee, which had 15 runs and 30 hits in taking two of three from Los Angeles earlier this week, has just six runs and 10 hits in two games against Chicago.