Cain and Christian Yelich over the winter <a title="Tyquan Lewis Jersey" href="http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-tyquan-lewis-jersey">Tyquan Lewis Jersey</a> , runs have been hard to come by for the Milwaukee Brewers this season.
Except against the Philadelphia Phillies, that is.
Through the first four meetings between the two teams this season, Milwaukee has scored 40 runs and surpassed the 10-run mark in three of those contests, winning all three including a 13-2 decision Friday night.
The Brewers’ only loss to Philadelphia this season came last Sunday when right-hander Zach Eflin (3-2, 3.63) held them to a pair of runs over six innings as the Phillies avoided a sweep with a 4-3 victory at Citizens Bank Park.
“I go out every outing with the intent for it to be my best, but especially when you have a team that beats us twice in a row, you really kind of bear down,” Eflin said afterward. “I wouldn’t say try harder, but you want to make sure you limit your mistakes and put a stop to what’s happening.”
He’ll get another shot at holding Milwaukee’s offense in check Saturday afternoon when the Brewers (42-27) and Phillies (35-32) resume their three-game weekend series at Miller Park.
Eflin’s performance against Milwaukee helped solidify what had been a somewhat tenuous hold on rotation slot. The 24-year-old got off to a good start, posting a 1.56 ERA through his first three outings then scuffled in a pair of five-run efforts against the Blue Jays and Dodgers.
He stabilized himself by holding the Cubs to a run over 7 2/3 innings on June 5 and followed that with his strong showing against the Brewers, striking out nine.
“I think the biggest change is him being responsible for taking that step forward, him deciding how he’s going to get swings and misses <a title="Nyheim Hines Jersey" href="http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-nyheim-hines-jersey">Nyheim Hines Jersey</a> ,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s explosive fastballs up to left-handed batters and using his four-seam (fastball) instead of the two-seamer, sometimes, to left-handers has made a huge difference.”
Right-hander Junior Guerra (3-4, 2.71) takes the mound for Milwaukee, looking for his first victory since May 14. Guerra has pitched beautifully during that stretch, though, posting a 2.22 ERA with 23 strikeouts and only five walks in 28 1/3 innings of work.
He is looking much more like the pitcher who had a breakout campaign two years ago as a 31-year-old rookie, than he does the Guerra of last season, who was hindered by injuries, inconsistency and command issues.
“I’ve been working a lot with (pitching coach Derek Johnson),” Guerra said after holding the Cubs to a run over six innings in his last start. “We’ve been working a lot on rhythm, throwing strikes. That’s one of the biggest factors for me in doing this well.
“I just feel like I’m healthy <a title="Jacoby Brissett Jersey" href="http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-jacoby-brissett-jersey">Jacoby Brissett Jersey</a> , and that’s the most important thing. When I’m healthy, I feel like I can contribute to this team. That’s the most important thing compared to last year.”
After Yadier Molina’s two homers led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-2 win at Milwaukee Saturday, manager Mike Matheny spoke hopefully of a bounce the win would create.
His instinct proved correct Sunday when St. Louis capped a rough road trip with an 8-2 rout that allowed it to salvage a split of a four-game series with the National League Central leaders and pushed it within 4 1/2 games of the Brewers.
The Cardinals open a six-game homestand Monday night in Busch Stadium with the second of four straight series against first-place teams, facing the Cleveland Indians.
St. Louis (40-36) scored just seven runs in its first three games in Milwaukee, whiffing 34 times, with 15 occurring in a 2-1 loss Friday night. It fanned another 11 times on Sunday but mixed in 10 hits, including a three-run homer by Jose Martinez to cap a five-run fourth inning that turned momentum for good.
While the Cardinals enter the series with hope that they are turning things around, Cleveland (43-33) did so during the last week. Its 12-2 rout Sunday of Detroit was its seventh straight win, moving it eight games ahead of the Tigers and Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.
The Indians also appear to have the mound advantage for the series opener with Mike Clevinger (6-2, 3.00 ERA) against spot starter John Gant (1-2, 4.39).
Clevinger’s last start was one of his best this year. He notched 10 strikeouts Tuesday night in 7 2/3 innings of a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Clevinger has lasted at least six innings in five straight starts, solidifying his place in a deep rotation.
“His fastball had really good life <a title="Rigoberto Sanchez Jersey" href="http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-rigoberto-sanchez-jersey">Rigoberto Sanchez Jersey</a> ,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria told mlb.com. “He was keeping the ball down below the zone. You saw him get a lot of checked swings on some of his breaking pitches … he’s got a pretty good repertoire and was able to command consistently in the zone consistently throughout the whole ballgame.”
Gant is starting in place of Michael Wacha, who took his 8-2 record to the disabled list last week after suffering an oblique strain Wednesday in Philadelphia. The former Atlanta Braves prospect is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts this year, leading some to wonder why Dakota Hudson (10-2 at Triple-A Memphis) or Daniel Poncedeleon was not picked to replace Wacha.
In his last start, Gant lasted 5 1/3 innings on May 25 in Pittsburgh, losing 8-1 despite fanning seven and walking none. He was charged with four hits and three runs.
Gant has made one career start against Cleveland, lasting two innings in a 2016 game for the Braves and permitting one run and three hits with two strikeouts.
Carlos Martinez (3-4, 3.24) starts Tuesday night for St. Louis opposite Corey Kluber (11-3, 2.10). Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.50) faces the Indians’ Shane Bieber (2-0, 2.45) in a battle of rookie right-handers on Wednesday night.
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