Brewers’ Anderson chases a win in start against Cubs (May 20, 2017)
CHICAGO — Right-hander Chase Anderson remains unbeaten as he and the Milwaukee Brewers approach Saturday’s scheduled start against the Chicago Cubs.
But actual decisions — wins or losses — have been elusive as Anderson takes the mound for his ninth start of the season.
Anderson (2-0, 3.43 ERA) hasn’t had a decision in more than a month — a 6-3 Brewers victory over the Cubs on April 17 at Miller Park. He worked five innings and gave up three runs (two earned) and seven hits in five innings.
Despite the lack of decisions, there’s not much wrong with the way he has been pitching for the National League Central leaders (25-18).
“Chase has been doing a good job this year,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “His velocity is a little up this year, his curveball has improved, I think his cutter is a little pitch he’s added to the mix. So he’s pitched well. He’s done a nice job.”
Anderson brings a run of five straight no-decisions into Saturday’s game. The Cubs counter with right-hander Jake Arrieta (4-3, 5.44 ERA).
Arrieta is another hard-luck pitcher as he also makes his ninth start and second against the Brewers.
The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner has struggled in last five starts with a 7.27 ERA (21 earned runs in 26 innings) after a 2-0 start and a 2.89 ERA in his first three appearances.
His last time out he allowed four earned runs in six innings in a 5-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
“Right now, it seems the mistakes I’m making, they’re not fouling them off, taking or swinging and missing,” Arrieta told reporters. “They’re making pretty solid contact. I’m going to continue to be aggressive. I’d like to not make any mistakes, but the ones I’m making right now are being taken advantage of.”
Arrieta is 7-4 in 13 career starts against Milwaukee with a 3.00 ERA. He posted the victory in his first 2017 meeting with the Brewers, allowing three earned runs and three hits and striking out a season-high 10 in a 7-4 win at Miller Park.
Despite recent struggles, Arrieta is 44-17 with a 2.68 ERA since the 2015 season. The wins top the major leagues and the ERA is second to Clayton Kershaw.
The Cubs (21-20) took two of three from the Brewers in their early April series at Miller Park and two of three when the teams met again between April 17-19 in Chicago.
Milwaukee is 4-4 in Anderson’s eight previous starts, including Monday’s 6-5 Brewers loss at San Diego. Anderson worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs and six hits.
He’s 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs.
It’s also possible that Anderson and Arrieta could wait another day to pitch. Initial forecasts call for Saturday thunderstorms, a far cry from sunny, summer conditions experienced earlier in the week in Chicago.