Caleb Gindl’s success against Jeff Samardzija and the Chicago Cubs may be reason enough for him to be back in the Milwaukee Brewers’ lineup.
The rookie outfielder’s production in the opener of this four-game series also warrants his inclusion.
Gindl will try to build on his best performance of the season Tuesday night as the Brewers seek a fourth straight win over the Cubs.
Gindl is in his third stint of the season with the Brewers (66-83), and he’s batting .216 (8 for 37) with four homers and eight RBIs in 17 games since being most recently recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Aug. 23.
He broke out of a 2-for-25 slump with career highs of three hits - falling a double shy of the cycle - and three RBIs in Monday’s 6-1 win over Chicago.
“I appreciate the fact that (manager Ron Roenicke) had the confidence to put me in there,” said Gindl, who also homered Sunday against Cincinnati. “It felt good and I felt like I’m starting to get my swing back.”
Gindl may find himself back in the lineup because he’s 13 for 27 (.481) in nine meetings with the Cubs (63-87). He’s 2 for 3 with a double off Samardzija, Chicago’s scheduled starter.
Samardzija (8-12, 4.44) has been hit had in his last three starts, going 0-1 with an 8.35 ERA while opponents are batting .321 with five homers.
The right-hander surrendered six runs and eight hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-0 loss at Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Part of Samardzija’s recent struggles could stem from pitching a career-high 194 2-3 innings this season, an increase of 20 from a year ago, when he was shut down Sept. 8.
“He’s never been there before,” manager Dale Sveum told the team’s official website of Samardzija pitching this late into a season after being converted into a starter in 2012. “I’m not going to say that’s the reason for the struggles. The last two outings have been in the worst heat of the year. Who knows? You don’t have the answers for everything. The bottom line is being able to make that pitch.”
Samardzija is 0-2 with a 2.42 ERA in his last four starts against the Brewers. He’s received seven total runs of support in those games.
The Brewers will counter with Marco Estrada (6-4, 4.29), who flirted with a no-hitter before leaving without a decision in Wednesday’s 5-1 loss at St. Louis. His no-hit bid ended in the seventh inning, when he was hit in the foot by a comebacker and he exited with two outs after allowing one run.
The right-hander has reached the seventh inning in each of his last three starts, going 1-0 with a 2.18 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 20 2-3 innings.
Estrada’s strong stretch may continue since he’s 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his last four starts versus the Cubs, striking out 27 over 24 innings.
Starlin Castro is 6 for 15 with three extra-base hits against Estrada but Anthony Rizzo and Darwin Barney are a combined 1 for 20.