After leaving his last start early due to a minor injury, Sheets is expected to be on the mound looking for a career high in wins while trying to help the Brewers to a second straight victory when they face Jake Peavy and the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
Sheets (12-7, 2.97 ERA) allowed two hits in five scoreless innings and had retired 10 consecutive batters before being lifted for a pinch-hitter due to slight tightness in his left groin in a 4-2 loss to the New York Mets on Monday.
While the incident seemed like another setback for the oft-injured All-Star, it proved not serious enough for Sheets to miss Saturday’s start for the Brewers (81-60), who snapped a four-game losing streak with a 3-2, 11-inning victory over the Padres on Friday.
After cutting the Chicago Cubs’ lead to four games in the NL Central and remaining four up on Philadelphia in the wild-card race, the Brewers are confident Sheets can be effective Saturday.
“It’s not serious because I didn’t even go see the trainers (before Tuesday night’s game) and they didn’t come to me either,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “I don’t foresee any setbacks.”
The right-hander, who has missed just one start this season, has not allowed a run over his last 11 innings, but is 0-2 with an 8.46 ERA in four career starts versus San Diego. He gave up three runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 3-2 loss to the Padres on Aug. 14.
The Brewers struggled against Peavy (9-9, 2.69) in that contest and in their last two outings versus the 2007 Cy Young Award winner.
Peavy yielded a run and four hits while striking out eight in seven innings versus Milwaukee last month and has given up one run and six hits over his last 14 innings against the Brewers dating to last season. He is 3-2 with a 2.66 ERA in eight starts against Milwaukee.
The right-hander, though, has failed to earn a decision in his last two appearances overall, but shined in his last start, allowing five hits while striking out a season-high 13 in eight scoreless innings of a 2-1 win over Colorado on Sunday.
“It’s just been one of those years,” Peavy said. “I feel like I’ve thrown the ball fairly well. But, of course, the bottom line is 9-9. It’s not fun to be a .500 pitcher in the win-loss column.”
On Friday, J.J. Hardy singled home the winning run for the Brewers, who improved to 1-4 on a 10-game homestand that started with three straight losses to the Mets before a 5-2 loss in Thursday’s series opener with San Diego (54-87).
“Every game is important now and it felt good for us to get a win,” said Hardy, who is batting .370 with five home runs and 17 RBIs over his last 19 games, but is 1-for-8 versus Peavy.
Brian Giles went 4-for-6 and homered off Eric Gagne in the eighth inning Friday to prevent CC Sabathia from earning his 10th win since joining Milwaukee. Giles, who is 5-for-10 in the series, is batting .462 (12-for-26) with five doubles, two home runs and six RBIs against Sheets.