Ryan Dempster vs. Randy Wolf
Dempster wasn’t sure he’d make his last start because of a right hip strain, which he felt during warmups. He may want to re-think getting it fixed. He threw 113 pitches over six innings and got the win against the Reds. Wolf had no-decisions in his past three starts. He’s surrendered 12 hits and five earned runs during this three-game span, but also pitched 19 innings and struck out 15 batters.
Randy Wells vs. Yovanni Gallardo
Wells’ last start was cut short after 2 1/3 innings because of rain. Another problem was pitch count: He threw 53 in the abbreviated outing. This will be his first game against the Brewers since Cactus League play on Feb. 28. Gallardo’s six-start winning streak ended with a thud Thursday, when Gallardo allowed 10 hits and threw 96 pitches in four-plus innings of a loss to the Mets. He’s 3-1 with a 3.61 ERA in eight starts against the Cubs.
Carlos Zambrano vs. Chris Narveson
Zambrano had to go deep to give the bullpen a breather in his last start and threw 128 pitches over 6 1/3 innings. He says he’s strong enough to handle it. What he also needs to deal with is not walking as many; he walked seven against the Phillies. So much for the calls to remove Narveson from the Brewers’ rotation. He pitched eight shutout innings against the Cardinals on Friday in a big series-opening win and contributed to the team’s eighth shutout this season.
Matt Garza vs. Zack Greinke
This will be Garza’s third start since coming off the DL with a sore right elbow. In his last game against the Phillies, he gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits over six innings. He lost to the Brewers on April 9. Greinke is on a roll. The Brewers are 7-1 in his starts, Greinke has won six straight decisions and he’s delivered five quality starts of at least six innings with three or fewer earned runs.
Kyle Lobner Scouts the Brewers
Who’s Hot – Prince Fielder entered play Sunday with eight home runs in his last ten games and a .370/.541/.1.222 batting line over that stretch. Even when he’s not hitting the ball over the fence Fielder is doing a very good job of being patient at the plate: coming into Sunday’s game he had 18 walks in his last 20 games, fueling a .506 OBP over that stretch.
Who’s Not – Former Cub Casey McGehee’s bat is showing some signs of life lately, but he’s still only hitting .229/.288/.326 on the season and recently snapped an 0-for-27 skid. His struggles are likely a large part of the reason Prince Fielder is drawing so many walks: putting Fielder on base and pitching to McGehee is going to remain an appealing option unless he gives teams a reason to worry about him.
News / Notes – This Brewer team is in contention in the NL Central and just finished a series win over the Cardinals, but they’ve been much better at home than on the road. They’ll enter play Monday just 13-19 away from Miller Park this season. The Astros are the only NL team with fewer road wins. The Brewers swept the Marlins in their last road series, though, and have gone 7-4 in their last 11 road games.
Predictions for the Series – A week at Wrigley Field could be a good thing for some of the Brewers’ hot hitters, but Wrigley’s reputation as a hitters’ park could lead some of the already-less disciplined Brewers to swing for the fences even more. Don’t be surprised if the Brewers score a huge percentage of their runs this week via the home run ball, and drop a game or two if they catch a day where the wind isn’t blowing out.
You can follow Kyle at the Brew Crew Ball blog on the SB Nation