Chicago (57-76) at Milwaukee (80-54)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Milwaukee, WI, US
Temp: 37° F
  • Game info: 2:10 pm EDT Sun Aug 28, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Milwaukee Brewers are making it look too easy as they appear headed for their first division title in nearly 30 years.

The Brewers go for their 50th home win of the season and eighth straight at Miller Park over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday afternoon.

Milwaukee (80-54) is in position for a second straight sweep of its NL Central rivals after Saturday’s 6-4 win. Starting with a victory over the Cubs on July 26, the Brewers have averaged 5.0 runs per game while posting a 26-5 record.

Starting pitchers have posted a 2.66 ERA in that stretch, allowing three earned runs or less in 22 games with Milwaukee losing only once.

“It’s not that I don’t expect to play this hot. I expect to play this hot, I don’t know how long you can do this, I don’t know how long any team can do it,” first-year manager Ron Roenicke said. “But, I do expect us to be this good. I do.”

The surge has helped give the Brewers the largest lead of any first-place club - 10 1/2 games over St. Louis - and drop their magic number to 19. Milwaukee hasn’t entered the postseason as a division winner since taking the AL East in 1982 before eventually losing to the Cardinals in the club’s only World Series appearance.

After getting hit hard in his last outing, Zack Greinke(notes) (12-5, 4.22 ERA) will try to bounce back for the Brewers.

The right-hander was tagged for seven runs in 6 1-3 innings of Monday’s 9-2 loss in the second game of a doubleheader at Pittsburgh. Greinke had allowed six runs while winning five consecutive starts from July 27-Aug. 17.

His run began with the first win in two games against the Cubs this year. Greinke held them to three hits in 6 2-3 innings and struck out nine in a 2-0 victory in Milwaukee.

Greinke has struck out Carlos Pena 17 times in 33 at-bats, and Marlon Byrd(notes) has been fanned seven times in 17 trips to the plate against the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner.

The Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano(notes) drove in all four runs Saturday with an RBI single and three-run double. Soriano had driven in three over his previous 10 games.

Aramis Ramirez(notes) had two hits and is batting .508 (32 for 63) with four homers and 14 RBIs during a 16-game hitting streak. Starlin Castro(notes) is hitting only .250 (12 for 48) in an 11-game streak.

Soriano is 4 for 13, Ramirez 0 for 6 and Castro 2 for 4 all-time against Greinke.

Chicago (57-76) will go with Casey Coleman(notes), who has lost both his starts since replacing the banished Carlos Zambrano(notes).

After being ripped for 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings of a loss to Houston on Aug. 17, Coleman (2-6, 7.59) was charged with five runs, all in the fourth inning, of Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to Atlanta.

Both of Coleman’s wins this year have come on the road, where opponents have hit .297 against him. The right-hander failed to get a decision in his season debut, a 6-5 loss on April 10 in Milwaukee.

Prince Fielder(notes) has three hits with a homer in five at-bats against Coleman. With his second homer in 15 games Saturday, Fielder is one shy of reaching 30 for the fifth straight season.

After a 3-for-3 night, Corey Hart(notes) is hitting .381 (16 for 42) in a 10-game hitting streak. Hart has recorded five of his nine hits against the Cubs this season in the first two games of this set.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Coleman SEA vs. Z. Greinke ARI
3-9 Record 16-6
6.40 ERA 3.83
75 K 201
46 BB 45
1.75 WHIP 1.20