Wily Peralta is enjoying his second five-start win streak this year, but he’s been much more impressive in this one.
He can move into the major league lead with his 15th win Tuesday night for the visiting Milwaukee Brewers if he can finally solve the Chicago Cubs this year.
Peralta (14-6, 3.42 ERA) has posted a 1.64 ERA in this win streak, which matches a run from June 5-26 as the longest of his career. His ERA was 4.22 in that stretch, with opponents hitting .276 off him, but the Brewers supported him with a total of 29 runs.
The run support has been similar this time with a total of 27, but Peralta has been a much different pitcher – limiting opponents to a .203 mark. Four of his wins in this streak have come after losses for Milwaukee.
"I know it’s on his mind that when we need a good start, he’s going to do whatever he can to give us that start," manager Ron Roenicke said. "And, it’s worked well for him. Just continue to give us those good starts. We need the big, strong guy to have innings and keep the run totals down."
The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.39 ERA in two starts against Chicago this year, but 6-0 with a 1.10 ERA in his seven starts against other NL Central foes. Peralta is 2-4 with a 4.07 ERA in seven overall starts against the Cubs (50-67), the only team to beat him twice in 2014.
All-Stars Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo have fared especially well against Peralta. Castro is 10 for 21 with two homers, going 3 for 5 this year, while Rizzo is 8 for 19 with four homers – 3 for 6 with two longballs in 2014.
Rookie Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks (3-1, 2.10) figures to present a formidable opponent as he searches for a third straight victory. He gave up two runs over a season-high eight innings Thursday in a 6-2 win at Colorado.
"He’s a very poised young man and he’s the type of kid when he prepares for the test he knows he’s going to do well," manager Rick Renteria said. "I hope he’s making believers out of a lot of people."
Opponents are hitting .218 against the right-hander, who has never faced Milwaukee. However, the Dartmouth graduate may remember his Cactus League outing March 9 against the Brewers in which he gave up two runs in three innings, striking out Ryan Braun once before the slugger doubled against him in the next matchup.
The Brewers (66-53) opened this four-game set with Monday’s 3-1 victory, their fourth in five games, behind Yovani Gallardo’s seven strong innings. Khris Davis hit a go-ahead RBI double in the seventh inning, moving him into a tie with Carlos Gomez for second on the team with 59 RBIs behind Braun’s 67.
Rizzo went 0 for 4 to drop to 5 for 31 against Milwaukee this year. The Cubs have lost six of 10 matchups.
Castro is hitting .395 in the season series and batting .415 in a 10-game streak after he had two hits Monday.