The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers have offered an early glimpse of the home run derby entering Sunday's series finale.
The visiting Cubs and host Brewers have combined for a whopping 15 home runs in the series' first two games, which the teams have split. Milwaukee slugged its way to a 13-10 win in the series opener, and Chicago answered with a 14-8 victory Saturday.
The Brewers have won six of their past seven, but manager Craig Counsell knows better than to start making big-picture assertions.
"I like to put it in a fan's perspective: It's a football schedule and we're at halftime of Week 1 in the baseball season," Counsell said to reporters. "Nothing's happened yet. We're not past the beginning yet."
Meanwhile, the Cubs will try to win back-to-back games for the first time this season after snapping a six-game losing streak.
Chicago right-hander Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 4.15 ERA) will make his second start of the season. He struggled in his first outing Monday against the Atlanta Braves, allowing seven runs (two earned) on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out four.
In 19 career starts against Milwaukee, Hendricks is 8-5 with a 3.01 ERA. He has walked 22 and struck out 100 in 110 2/3 innings. The 29-year-old has made more starts -- and earned more victories -- against the Brewers than against any other opposing team.
Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw will try to stay hot against Hendricks, against whom he has three homers and eight RBI in 22 at-bats. Eric Thames also has enjoyed success against Hendricks with a .316 average (6-for-19), one homer and four RBI.
On the other hand, Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain is hitting only .133 (2-for-15) with one RBI against Hendricks. Teammate Orlando Arcia is hitting .190 (4-for-21) with no RBI against the hurler.
The Brewers will counter with right-hander Zach Davies (0-0, 3.60 ERA), who also will be making his second start. He allowed two runs on four hits in five innings in his season debut Monday against the Cincinnati Reds.
Against the Cubs, the 26-year-old Davies is 5-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 13 starts. He has walked 18 and fanned 62 in 76 2/3 innings.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has feasted on Davies throughout his career with a .371 average (13-for-35), two doubles, a triple, two homers and six RBI. Kyle Schwarber also has gone deep twice against Davies, yet his production has been feast or famine as he is hitting only .167 (3-for-18) lifetime against the pitcher.
The Cubs reconfigured their bullpen this weekend by calling up left-hander Kyle Ryan and right-hander Allen Webster. The pitchers replaced left-hander Mike Montgomery, who was placed on the injured list due to a lat strain, and right-hander Carl Edwards Jr., who was sent down to Triple-A Iowa to try to get a feel for his mechanics.
"He doesn't look like himself," Cubs president Theo Epstein said. "He's having a hard time finding the (strike) zone, and they're getting better swings off him. That's what you don't typically see from CJ when he's himself."
--Field Level Media
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