|11:20 AM PT12:20 PM MT1:20 PM CT2:20 PM ET14:20 ET18:20 GMT2:20 11:20 AM MST1:20 PM EST1:50 PM VEN22:20 UAE12:20 PM CT, August 19, 2022
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 39,962
In thick of playoff hunt, Brewers meet improving Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
- The Cubs hold a one-game lead (7-6) in their season against the Brewers, including four wins in seven games at Wrigley Field. Six of the 13 games the teams have played against each other this season have been decided by a one-run margin.
- The Brewers hit three home runs in their 5-3 win over the Dodgers on Thursday. Milwaukee has hit three or more homers in a game 19 times this season, third most among National League teams, behind Atlanta (27) and Los Angeles (20).
- The Brewers have lost Aaron Ashby's last six starts (Milwaukee is 14-9 in games started by other Brewers pitchers over that stretch) and they're 1-10 in his last 11 starts (29-23 in other games). Ashby is 0-4 with a 3.58 ERA over his last six starts, allowing two or fewer earned runs in five of those six games.
- The Cubs have a 2.82 team ERA since the All-Star break, second-lowest in the majors, behind the Dodgers (2.57). The Cubs had a 4.58 team ERA this season before the All-Star Game, which ranked them 25th among the 30 major-league teams.
- Willson Contreras was behind the plate for the Cubs and hit two home runs in their win at Baltimore yesterday. Contreras has hit 101 homers as a catcher in the major leagues, sixth most since 2016 (his debut season), behind Yasmani Grandal (126), Gary Sanchez (123), Salvador Perez (118), J.T. Realmuto (107) and Mike Zunino (107).
- Keegan Thompson is 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA and only two home runs allowed in 44 innings in his eight starts at Wrigley Field this season. Thompson is 2-3 with a 6.75 ERA and nine home runs allowed in 30.2 innings in his eight road starts this year.
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After managing a series split against the National League's best team, the Milwaukee Brewers look to improve their play versus a rival that resides near the bottom of the league.
The visiting Brewers will aim to win consecutive games for just the second time this month on Friday, while trying to avoid a third straight loss to a Chicago Cubs team that's played well of late.
In the mix for a fifth straight postseason berth, Milwaukee has averaged 3.4 runs in its last 16 games while winning just six times. However, it homered three times and pulled out a 5-3 home win Thursday to salvage a four-game split with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"We're in a position, like most teams, where wins are really impactful," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "You try to stack up wins. That's our job."
The Brewers, who last won back-to-back contests Aug. 9-10, now head out for six straight on the road, where they've dropped nine of 12. Milwaukee is also 6-7 this season against the Cubs, including 3-4 at Wrigley Field.
Though 17 games under .500, Chicago has won its last four series and, following Thursday's 3-2 victory at Baltimore in a makeup contest, three consecutive games and nine of 13 overall. The Cubs have also won seven of nine at home.
Perhaps the best outing of the season from scheduled Milwaukee starter Aaron Ashby (2-10, 4.24 ERA) came during its 3-1 win at Chicago on May 30. The left-hander allowed only a Willson Contreras homer, four other hits and two walks, while fanning a career-high 12 over six innings.
Milwaukee has won only once over Ashby's last 11 starts, July 8 versus Pittsburgh. However, Ashby has a 3.22 ERA in his last four starts. In his last outing, he yielded two solo homers with one other hit, while walking two and fanning five, over six innings of Milwaukee's 6-3 loss at St. Louis on Sunday.
Contreras, who homered twice Thursday, has gone deep twice while batting .313 versus Milwaukee this season and is 2-for-3 with three walks lifetime against Ashby. Teammate Franmil Reyes is batting .382 (13-for-34) with two homers and five RBIs while hitting safely in all eight games he's played since joining the Cubs after being released by Cleveland earlier this month.
It's a marked improvement for Reyes, who batted .213 with nine homers in 70 games for the Guardians.
"Everybody knows me and knows -- when I'm good -- what I can do," Reyes told the Cubs' website.
Chicago hopes for a better effort from scheduled starter Keegan Thompson (9-5, 3.67 ERA) after he allowed four runs off a three-run homer, one other hit and three walks in just 1 2/3 innings of an 8-5 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday. The right-hander has alternated poor and strong performances while going 2-2 with a 5.70 ERA in his last five starts.
Thompson, though, has yielded just three runs -- one earned -- and nine hits, without a walk, while striking out 10 over 13 innings to win his last two home starts.
Milwaukee's Andrew McCutchen struck out in his lone at-bat versus Thompson and is 4-for-46 against the Cubs this season, but homered twice Thursday.
--Field Level Media
Updated August 18, 2022