A day after having their offense stifled, the Milwaukee Brewers hope Kyle Lohse can return the favor against the Chicago Cubs.
Lohse looks to shut down the Cubs for a third time this season Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
Milwaukee (66-54) had won four of five before suffering a 3-0 loss to Chicago in Tuesday’s second of this four-game set. The Brewers have scored four runs or fewer in eight of nine with Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun going a combined 15 for 69 (.217) with 20 strikeouts in that stretch.
Braun was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts Tuesday while Gomez went 1 for 3 for an offense that failed to support Wily Peralta, who gave up three runs in 6 1-3 innings.
”He battles when he’s not on and he still keeps them down to three runs,” manager Ron Roenicke said. ”With our offense, that should be good enough.”
They’ll try to regroup Wednesday behind Lohse (11-6, 3.33 ERA), who has won both of his matchups with the Cubs this year behind a 1.69 ERA – including a three-hit shutout June 1. He had compiled a 5.15 ERA versus Chicago prior to this season.
After surrendering seven earned runs over four innings in a loss to St. Louis on Aug. 2, Lohse bounced back nicely Friday by limiting the Los Angeles Dodgers to a run in six innings before Milwaukee’s offense came alive late in a 9-3 win.
Walks could still be a concern for Lohse, who has issued 10 in 22 2-3 innings over his last four starts after averaging 0.8 per nine innings in his previous 12 outings.
The Cubs (51-67) had dropped three of four before using another gem from their pitching staff to compensate for a weak offensive performance of their own. While Anthony Rizzo ended his 18-game homerless drought by hitting his 26th of the season, Chicago managed three runs or fewer for the fifth straight game.
However, rookie Kyle Hendricks limited Milwaukee to six hits over 7 1-3 innings, improving the rotation’s ERA to 1.99 over the last six contests.
Fellow first-year hurler Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1, 3.25) will take the mound after giving up two runs and four hits over six-plus innings Friday against Tampa Bay. He surrendered a triple to open the seventh, prompting his exit in a 4-3, 10-inning loss.
"Against this level of hitters, I’m getting more and more comfortable, but I wasn’t able to do my job in the most important situation in the seventh inning, so I think I need to improve on that," he said through an interpreter.
The left-hander has limited his last three opponents to five runs over 18 2-3 innings after giving up five runs in a season-worst four innings against San Diego on July 23.
Starlin Castro extended his Cubs’ season-best hitting streak to 11 games with his 31st double Tuesday. He’s batting .400 during the streak and .362 over his last 15 matchups with Milwaukee, including five doubles in the last seven.
Rizzo is 9 for 20 off Lohse, while Castro is 7 for 36.