National League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, June 13th (All times Eastern)
Milwaukee Brewers (38-28) at Chicago Cubs (25-39), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Milwaukee - Randy Wolf (4-4, 3.49) Chicago - Ryan Dempster (5-5, 5.96)
(Sports Network) - Eight victories in 10 games have the Brewers atop the National League Central for the first time in almost two years. A matchup with Cubs starter Ryan Dempster could be the antidote for their hot play.
Milwaukee shoots for a fourth straight victory, while Chicago's Dempster aims to extend six-game winning streak over the club tonight in the opener of a four-game series at Wrigley Field.
The Brewers have been one of baseball's hottest teams over the past month or so, going 24-8 in their last 32 games. Their recent three-game sweep of the Cardinals, capped with Sunday's 4-3 victory, put them a half-game up on St. Louis for the NL Central's top spot. Milwaukee hasn't been in first place since it was in a virtual tie with the Cards on July 4, 2009.
Shaun Marcum picked up his seventh win of the season after allowing three runs over seven innings, while Prince Fielder continued to swing a powerful bat. The bulky first baseman highlighted a four-run sixth inning with a two-run homer, giving him eight home runs and 16 RBI over his past 10 games.
Carlos Gomez helped preserve the win in the ninth inning by making a great catch on Colby Rasmus' deep drive to center with one out. Gomez collided with the wall as he made the catch and John Axford then struck out Yadier Molina to tally his 18th save of the season.
"I hit my head on the wall and I got a headache," said Gomez of the catch. "It was worth it."
Milwaukee is 10 games above .500 (38-28) for the first time since June 6, 2009 and improved to 25-9 at home this season. However, the club is just 13-19 on the road this year and will try to end its recent struggles against Dempster.
The Cubs right-hander is 6-0 with a 2.11 earned run average in his last seven starts versus the Brewers and is also riding a seven-game winning streak at home over the Brewers, pitching to a 2.80 ERA at Wrigley Field over that seven-start span.
Dempster has won three of his last four starts overall, rebounding from a loss to the Cardinals on June 3 to beat the Reds last Wednesday. The 34-year-old allowed just one run on three hits and a walk over six frames despite suffering a right hip strain during warmups.
Dempster is 5-5 with a 5.96 ERA in 14 starts this year. Fielder is 9-for-36 (.250) in his career against him with a pair of homers and six RBI.
Randy Wolf will start for the Brewers and has posted three straight no- decisions since a victory on May 22, though Milwaukee is 4-0 in his last four starts.
The 34-year-old lefty gave up a run on four hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings on Wednesday versus the Mets, striking out six in his team's 7-6 victory. Wolf is 4-4 with a 3.49 ERa in 13 starts this season.
Wolf has lost each of his last three starts against the Cubs with a 5.30 ERA. He gave up six runs -- two earned -- on nine hits over six frames of a home setback to them on April 8, falling to 5-10 with a 4.40 ERA in his career in this matchup.
The Cubs will try to maintain that success over Wolf as they look to win for just the fourth time in 17 games tonight. They wrapped a 10-game homestand 2-8 after losing three of four to the Phillies, getting outscored 52-28 on the swing.
Philadelphia won the final three meetings over the weekend, including yesterday's 4-3 win. All three of Chicago's runs came in the first inning, with Aramis Ramirez belting a two-run homer.
Doug Davis allowed two runs over five innings, while reliever Sean Marshall yielded a pair of runs in the seventh to take the loss.
"Doug kept us in there," said Marshall. "I hate that I gave the lead up."
The Brewers took two of three at home over the Cubs in early April, while the teams split six meetings last year at Wrigley Field.
06/13 10:25:22 ET