It doesn’t get much easier for opposing hitters with rookie Manny Parra on the mound.
Parra looks to win his seventh straight decision on Friday when the Brewers open up a three-game set at Miller Park against the Cincinnati Reds.
Sabathia - acquired from Cleveland on Monday - and Sheets have combined to make seven All-Star teams, and figure to give Milwaukee (51-41) an excellent chance to make its first postseason appearance since 1982. Parra (8-2, 3.65 ERA), though, may play an equally big role during the second half of the season.
He doesn’t have the experience of the Brewers’ two aces, but Parra has impressed in his first full season in the major leagues. The 25-year-old left-hander hasn’t lost since May 3, and he won six straight starts from May 30-June 28.
“You’re seeing a young major league pitcher evolve into a pretty good major league pitcher,” manager Ned Yost told the Brewers’ official Web site.
Parra hasn’t started since July 3, although he did pitch a scoreless inning of relief on Monday in the Brewers’ 4-3 loss to Colorado. Including his last two starts, Parra has thrown 14 consecutive scoreless innings.
His biggest problem has been a tendency to give up walks - he’s allowed 17 in his last four starts.
Offensively, the Brewers have been getting big contributions from their second and third hitters recently. Shortstop J.J. Hardy is batting .489 with seven homers and 14 RBIs over his last 11 games, while No. 3 hitter Ryan Braun - elected as an All-Star starter this week - is hitting .429 with two homers and seven RBIs in his last five games.
Hardy homered and Braun drove in three runs on Thursday as Milwaukee salvaged a split of its four-game series with Colorado, pounding the Rockies 11-1.
“That’s as good as it gets,” Yost said.
The Reds (44-49) had won four straight before heading into Chicago this week to face the NL-leading Cubs. Cincinnati mustered just seven hits in losing the first two games at Wrigley Field, but pounded out 18 hits - including seven homers - to win the finale 12-7 on Thursday.
“We were just trying to get base hits. Sometimes you get the ball in the air and it can go out,” said Ken Griffey Jr., who hit a three-run homer. “The wind was blowing out.”
Cincinnati’s Josh Fogg (1-2, 8.39) will be looking to build on his best start of the season. The right-hander had a 13.81 ERA in his first four starts before being sent to the minors while he dealt with back spasms.
In his first start since May 31 though, Fogg was impressive. He allowed a run and six hits over six innings on Saturday despite not factoring in the decision of the Reds’ 3-2 win over Washington.
“I wasn’t comfortable earlier in the year,” Fogg told the team’s official Web site. “To go down (to the minor leagues) and get my command back and my feel for pitching back is something I really needed to do.”
Fogg is 7-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 16 career starts versus the Brewers.