National League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, July 28th
(All times Eastern)
Chicago Cubs (42-62) at Milwaukee Brewers (56-49), 2:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Randy Wells (2-3, 6.17)
Milwaukee - Shaun Marcum (9-3, 3.35)
(Sports Network) - It has been over six years since the Milwaukee Brewers last
swept the Chicago Cubs. Completing that task didn't get any easier last night
when second baseman Rickie Weeks went down with an ankle injury.
The Brewers expect to be without their All-Star for some time, starting in
today's finale with the Cubs at Miller Park.
After being limited to just 37 games in 2009 due to injury, Weeks bounced back
a season ago to play in 160 games and set career highs with 29 homers and 83
RBI. He was off to another solid season this year, hitting .272 with 19 homers
and 43 RBI in 104 games before twisting his ankle legging out an infield in
the second inning. He fell to the ground and received immediate assistance,
needing help off the field.
Weeks is expected to be placed on the disabled list today.
The injury marred an otherwise solid 2-0 victory that gave the Brewers a half-
game lead over the Cardinals for first place in the National League Central.
"It's a sprained ankle. We are having an MRI done on it. I talked to the
doctor and he is going to take a look at the film and see where we are at. It
is going to be for a while," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "You win a
great ball game, but get bad news. That hurts."
Zack Greinke tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings and John Axford set a new club
record by converting his 26th straight save chance. It was his 29th save of
the season overall.
Both Milwaukee runs came in the second inning, with Prince Fielder clubbing a
solo homer and Yuniesky Betancourt hitting a sacrifice fly to score Craig
Counsell, who came in to replace Weeks.
Carlos Zambrano was the hard-luck loser, giving up two runs on six hits
with three strikeouts and two walks over 6 2/3 frames.
"His velocity was excellent. They just got the deuce on him in the second
inning," said Chicago manager Mike Quade.
Chicago came into this series off a three-game sweep of the Astros, but
haven't scored in their last 17 innings.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, now owns a 5-4 edge in the season series and will try to
sweep Chicago for the first time since taking all three games of a series on
May 3-5, 2005 at home. It can do so by getting a third straight victory out of
Shaun Marcum, who returns home after back-to-back road wins.
The 29-year-old righty gave up a pair of runs in each outing, lasting seven
innings at San Francisco on Friday. In his longest start in seven appearances,
Marcum worked around four hits and struck out five without issuing a walk. He
did, however, allow a home run for a seventh straight outing.
Still, he improved to 9-3 with a 3.35 earned run average in 21 starts and the
first-year Brewer will face the Cubs for the first time.
Randy Wells takes the hill for the Cubs five days after posting his first
victory since his season debut on April 4.
Wells, who has missed time this year with an arm injury, went nine straight
starts between victories, going 0-3 in that span. Chicago went 2-7 in his
outings over that time and had lost his previous five starts before Wells
recorded a win over the Astros on Saturday.
The right-hander held Houston to a run over six innings, striking out four to
improve to 2-3 with a 6.17 ERA.
"I thought he started to get the ball up a bit later in the outing, but it's
understandable," said Quade. "He made a lot of pitches, but I made the
decision for a lot of reasons. If we get him through six, with a chance to
win, with the bullpen throwing as good as they did, it seemed the right thing
to do. If he can build on that, that's fantastic."
The 28-year-old is 2-2 in his career against the Brewers with a 4.32 ERA. That
includes a no-decision on June 14 in which Wells yielded three runs -- two
earned -- on eight hits and three walks over six innings of his team's 5-4
07/28 10:51:32 ET
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