Even with a brief slump at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers still have the best home record in the NL. Now, they’ll look to keep Scott Baker(notes) from winning his fourth straight start for the resurgent Minnesota Twins.
The Brewers will try to extend their winning streak over the Twins to five when the teams meet Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.
Milwaukee fell to 26-11 at home after dropping two of three against Tampa Bay, including a 6-3 defeat Thursday. The Brewers are tied for the NL Central lead with St. Louis, but a 15-24 road record has kept them from opening a lead in the division.
First-year manager Ron Roenicke’s team has the misfortune this season of facing the teams that currently make up the top three in the AL East. Milwaukee lost two of three last weekend in Boston, and is headed to New York for a three-game set against the Yankees starting Tuesday.
“We all like it,” Roenicke said of facing the AL. “But the question is, how in the world do you make this thing fair for everybody? … I know somebody has to take a tougher schedule and we’re the team right now that has to take a tougher schedule.”
Recent history suggests the Brewers (41-35) could get a break against the Twins. Milwaukee has taken four straight meetings, including a three-game sweep at home June 22-24, 2010.
Baker, though, hasn’t lost since June 1. The right-hander, who has posted a 1.50 ERA during his hot streak, has struck out 22 while walking just one in his last 24 innings.
Baker (5-4, 3.24 ERA) fanned a season-high 10 and limited San Diego to four hits over eight innings of a 1-0 win over San Diego on Saturday.
“He’s one of those guys you don’t hear about a whole lot just because you’re in the other league,” Padres catcher Nick Hundley(notes) said. “If he was in the National League, you’d definitely hear about him. He has really good stuff.”
Baker is 4-3 with a 5.28 lifetime ERA against the Brewers, and has had mixed results against two of their biggest sluggers.
After a season-high eight-game winning streak, Minnesota (32-41) managed a total of two runs while losing two straight at San Francisco. The Twins struck out 12 times in seven innings against Tim Lincecum(notes) en route to a 2-1 defeat Thursday.
Still, Minnesota has won 15 of 19 to pull within eight games of AL Central-leading Cleveland.
The Twins activated reliever Joe Nathan(notes) off the disabled list after Thursday’s game, and Jim Thome(notes) may also rejoin the team Friday. Thome, out since June 2 with a strained quadriceps, is seven homers shy of 600 for his career.
The left-hander ended a streak of four straight starts without a decision by beating the Red Sox 4-2 on Saturday. Wolf gave up two runs over seven innings, scattering nine hits.
Wolf lost his only career start against Minnesota in 2002, while with Philadelphia.