National League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, September 19th (All times Eastern)
Milwaukee Brewers (90-63) at Chicago Cubs (67-86), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Milwaukee - Chris Narveson (10-7, 4.40) Chicago - Casey Coleman (2-8, 7.06)
(Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Brewers have been a dominating team at home all season. In a twist of fate, the franchise will have a chance to wrap up its first division title in 29 years on the road.
With a magic number of four, the Brewers head to Wrigley Field seeking a seventh straight victory over the Chicago Cubs on the opener of a three-game set.
Milwaukee is 52-23 as the host this season, but Sunday's 8-1 win over the Reds that finished off a three-game sweep in Cincinnati upped its road record to just 38-40 on the season.
In fact, each victory of their current winning streak over the Cubs has come at home, with the Brewers losing three of four in Chicago so far this year.
Milwaukee, though, put forth a dominating effort at Cincinnati, outscoring the Reds 24-5 and hitting 10 homers in the sweep. Carlos Gomez, Prince Fielder and Corey Hart all went deep in Sunday's 8-1 win, while Zack Greinke took a no- hitter into the fifth inning and only allowed a run over seven frames.
"We did well on both sides, hitting and pitching," Fielder told Milwaukee's website. "Especially to do it on the road gives us extra confidence. They play us tough here. In this series, we played them better. It's a great feeling right now. But we still have to close things out."
Milwaukee won its 90th game of the season, matching its highest total ever since moving to the National League. It also won 90 games in 2008.
Ryan Braun's MVP-caliber season has the Brewers on the verge of winning their first division title since capturing the American League East in 1982. He had three hits on Sunday and leads the NL with a .336 batting average, including a .387 clip with four homers and eight RBI over his past seven games.
Braun is 7-for-10 in his career off tonight's starter for the Cubs, Casey Coleman, with a homer and four RBI. Coleman is 0-2 lifetime versus Milwaukee with a 6.20 earned run average.
The 24-year-old right-hander hasn't won since May 19, losing five straight decisions while pitching as a starter and reliever. The Cubs have lost each of the past 10 games Coleman has appeared in.
Coleman is coming off a loss in Cincinnati on Wednesday, when he was touched for six runs on six hits and three walks over just 3 2/3 innings of work. He fell to 2-8 with a 7.06 ERA in 17 games this year, all but two of those starts.
"He just didn't make enough quality pitches tonight," said Cubs manager Mike Quade. "At this point you just gotta keep working with him and hope he gets better."
Milwaukee counters with Chris Narveson is hasn't started since a loss to the Phillies on Sept. 8 in which he allowed six runs over 5 2/3 innings to halt a four-decision win streak. Off days caused his next turn in the rotation to be skipped, although he hurled two perfect innings of relief on Wednesday.
Narveson is 10-7 with a 4.40 ERA in 28 games this year, including 26 starts, and has won all three of his starts against the Cubs in 2011 while pitching to a 3.12 ERA. The 29-year-old southpaw is 6-0 lifetime versus Chicago with a 3.41 ERA in 12 games and five starts.
The Cubs will try to hand Narveson his first loss in this series, but lost for the fourth time in six games on Sunday versus Houston. Aramis Ramirez and Bryan LaHair both drove in a run, but Chicago couldn't get out of the early hole starter Ryan Dempster put the club in for a 3-2 loss.
Dempster allowed three runs in the first inning and lost his fifth straight decision.
"[Dempster] wasn't really hit hard, but just wasn't as sharp in the first inning as he was when he settled down. He pitched fine," said Quade.
Starlin Castro doubled in the first inning and has reached base safely in a career-high 31 straight games. It is the longest such streak by a Chicago shortstop since Woody English's 32-game run in 1930.
Castro is 4-for-11 in his career against Narveson.
09/19 10:43:27 ET