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Brewers aim to inch closer to Cubs in NL Central

CHICAGO -- Chase Anderson hasn't yet delivered the longevity and endurance he had in April when he averaged six innings per outing in five starts while posting a 2-0 record and claiming pitcher of the month honors for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Anderson is averaging almost a full inning less in four starts since returning from a strained left oblique on Aug. 20. He is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in those starts.

Anderson will be on the mound Saturday as the Brewers attempt to inch closer to the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

Anderson is part of a trio of starters along with Zach Davies and Friday's starter Jimmy Nelson who are helping to keep the Brewers in the NL Central Division hunt. The Brewers are four games behind the Chicago Cubs after Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer off John Lackey in the first inning and Nelson pitched five effective innings in a 2-0 win.

"All three of them you could say are in a really good spot," Counsell said this week. "To me, they've taken a step forward. They have pitched well and done it for a while now. It's a big reason we're sitting where we?re at right now."

Milwaukee is 10-10 when Anderson pitches. Anderson is 8-3 with a 3.06 ERA after allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings during a no-decision at Cincinnati on Monday.

Anderson is facing the Cubs for the third time this season. He allowed three runs in five innings during Milwaukee's 6-3 win at Wrigley Field April 17 and took the loss after allowing six runs in four innings May 21 in Milwaukee.

In five career starts against the Cubs, Anderson is 2-1 with a 4.44 ERA.

The Cubs will counter with left-hander Mike Montgomery (5-7, 3.38 ERA).

The versatile Montgomery, who started the season in the bullpen, moved into the Chicago rotation when Jon Lester briefly went on the disabled list and remained there with Jake Arrieta sidelined with a hamstring injury.

"(Montgomery) wants to start," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He'll tell you that straight up. I get it. But then he'll say, 'Listen, if you need me in the bullpen, I'm fine there, too.'

Montgomery makes his 12th start of the season and sixth at home

He is 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in his last four starts despite taking the loss in his last appearance on Sept. 3 in a 5-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Saturday will be his seventh appearance and second start against Milwaukee.

In his lone start on July 6 at Wrigley Field, He gave up seven runs in 2 1/3 inning.

Montgomery is 1/3 with a 5.11 ERA in 10 appearances (three starts) against Milwaukee.

With 21 games remaining in the season, Milwaukee (73-68) can top of its win total from all of last season (73-89) on Saturday. The Brewers have spent 65 days in first place.

Of Chicago's 21 remaining games, 13 are against teams with above .500 record and eight against below .500 clubs. Sixteen of the final games are against Central Division foes.

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