Chicago (57-74) at Milwaukee (78-54)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Milwaukee, WI, US
Temp: 58° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Fri Aug 26, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Milwaukee Brewers swept the Chicago Cubs in late July to take over first place in the NL Central, and their lead has continued to increase ever since.

With the Cubs on the schedule again this weekend, the Brewers have a good chance to keep on rolling.

Milwaukee looks for its sixth straight victory over Chicago at Miller Park when the division rivals open a three-game series Friday night.

The Brewers (78-54) entered play July 26 one-half game behind then-division co-leaders St. Louis and Pittsburgh. That deficit became a 1 1/2-game lead after a three-game sweep of the Cubs (57-74) at Miller Park.

That sweep began a run in which the Brewers have gone 24-5 to increase their division lead to a possibly insurmountable margin as they seek their first division title since 1982 - when they won the AL East and advanced to their only World Series.

“The excitement is going out there and winning all the time,” manager Ron Roenicke told the team’s official website. “When they come in here, that’s still their focus, to just keep this up as long as we can. I don’t think we feel like we’re comfortable. I think we just feel like, ‘Hey, this is right. Let’s keep this going.’”

Milwaukee, a major league-best 47-16 at home, finished a 5-2 road trip Wednesday with a 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh. It marked the first time the Brewers had been shut out since a 4-0 loss to Arizona on July 21.

They’ll look to bounce back Friday when Randy Wolf(notes) (10-8, 3.45 ERA) takes the mound.

Wolf is 4-0 with a 2.80 ERA in his last five starts, though he allowed five runs in 6 1-3 innings Saturday when he didn’t earn a decision in Milwaukee’s 11-9 win over the New York Mets.

The left-hander has a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Cubs this season, but has yet to earn a win. He took the loss April 8 when he allowed two runs in six innings, then didn’t get a decision after pitching seven scoreless innings June 13, with Chicago winning 1-0.

Wolf is 5-10 with a 4.15 ERA in 21 career starts versus the Cubs, who have lost five straight in Milwaukee.

Still, manager Mike Quade said the Cubs are well-prepared for the team which sits 20 1/2 games ahead of them in the division.

“We know them like the back of our hand,” Quade told the Cubs’ official website. “We’ve seen (Zack) Greinke twice, we know Wolf like he’s on our club and (Yovani) Gallardo as well.”

Chicago took three of four against Milwaukee from June 13-16 at Wrigley Field, though the Cubs likely must play better defense to end their current slump.

Chicago, leading baseball with 108 errors, committed four miscues leading to four unearned runs for Atlanta in Thursday’s 8-3 loss. The Cubs, who have lost four of five, had committed only one error over their previous eight games.

Aramis Ramirez(notes) had a hit and is batting a remarkable .537 during a 14-game hitting streak.

The Cubs will give the ball to the struggling Rodrigo Lopez(notes) (4-4, 4.97 ERA).

Lopez has allowed at least five runs in three of his last five outings, going 2-2 with a 7.30 ERA in that span. He gave up five runs and a season high-tying 10 hits through 5 1-3 innings of Sunday’s 6-2 loss to St. Louis.

The right-hander has made two relief appearances against the Brewers this season, allowing two runs and three hits in two innings. He’s 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in six career outings - four starts - versus Milwaukee.

Casey McGehee(notes) is 4 for 4 with a homer off Lopez lifetime.

Prince Fielder(notes), hitting .340 with 15 RBIs in his last 16 games versus the Cubs, is mired in a 1-for-14 overall slump.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Lopez PHI vs. R. Wolf DET
6-6 Record 13-10
4.42 ERA 3.69
54 K 134
29 BB 66
1.48 WHIP 1.32


Friday, Aug 26