(SportsNetwork.com) – Even though the season is only 22 games old for the
Chicago Cubs, the team has an opportunity Sunday to achieve a feat not
accomplished since the summer of 2012 in the finale of a three-game set with
the Milwaukee Brewers.
Despite scoring one run in each of their last three games, the Cubs have a
chance to stay unbeaten for a fourth consecutive series of two or more games
– something the club hasn’t done since a six-series stretch from June 25-July
After winning 1-0 Friday afternoon, the Cubs were 6-1 losers on Saturday.
Jason Hammel aims to get the Cubs back on the winning track and follow up on
his amazing start Monday against the Pirates when he pitched eight shutout
innings. The veteran righty gave up just four hits with no walks and seven
Hammel owns a 5-0 record with a 1.85 ERA against the Brewers in six career
starts. He didn’t yield a run in two starts against Milwaukee last season,
going 2-0 with 15 strikeouts.
Jimmy Nelson counters for the Brewers, who are trying for their first series
win of 2015. The right-hander has dropped his last two starts after winning
his season-opening appearance April 11 against the Pirates. He’s faced
Pittsburgh two times in a row, and the Reds in his previous two outings. On
Monday at Cincinnati, Nelson allowed seven runs on six hits and a career-high
five walks in 2 1/3 innings in a 9-6 loss.
Nelson is 0-2 with a 5.02 ERA in four games (2 starts) all-time against the
On Saturday, Mike Fiers had 12 strikeouts and Brewers pitchers combined for 18
punchouts. Fiers (1-3) didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning and finished
with one run allowed on three hits and two walks in six innings.
“Today was good for me because I was just pounding the zone,” Fiers said. “I
was throwing a lot of strikes and getting back to where I was at before,
attacking the guys and making them swing.”
Jeremy Jeffress, Will Smith and Francisco Rodriguez each threw an inning to
finish the game.
Jean Segura had a 4-for-5 day with two runs batted in and a stolen base, but
Ryan Braun struck the biggest blow of the game with a two-run homer in the
first inning. Carlos Gomez returned from the disabled list to pick up a hit
and steal two bases.
Jake Arrieta (3-2) failed to pitch a quality start for the first time this
season, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk despite striking out six
in five innings. Anthony Rizzo’s home run accounted for the Cubs’ only run.
“We just couldn’t get anything going on,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
The Cubs got the better of Milwaukee in last year’s season series, winning 11
of 19 meetings.